Evgeny Svechnikov is already paying dividends for the Detroit Red Wings.
The former 2015 1st round selection has made the most of his debut this season, scoring twice in the two games that he’s played. He tallied in Detroit’s 5-3 win on Saturday night, and again during last night’s setback.
For the Russian forward, it was simply about patience. He was waived by the team this past January after having missed the entire 2018-19 season thanks to a torn ACL. But Detroit’s roll of the dice didn’t come back to bite them.
“Anything can happen, it was not in my control or their control,” said Svechnikov about the waiver process. “But I’m happy I (remained) here and I went down there (Grand Rapids) for a couple weeks and it was tough, but I stayed patient and played well.
“I did not know about it (being inserted into Saturday’s lineup) but as a hockey player you just stay ready. I was preparing myself every day for any chance.”
And with captain Dylan Larkin out of the lineup, the Red Wings welcomed Svechnikov’s scoring touch.
“I stuck with it and I was hoping and I knew the chance would come,” said Svechnikov late Saturday night. “I was getting ready.”
Head coach Jeff Blashill attested to Svechnikov’s work ethic and personal drive, as well as who he is as a person.
“He did a good job,” Blashill said. “I have a lot of time for him as a person, he’s a great human being. He works so hard.”
Of course, there was some added motivation to have a strong season debut after the tragic death of his countryman, the long-time Red Wings team trainer Sergei Tchekmarev.
“He was close to Cheekah (Tchekmarev),” coach Jeff Blashill said. “It meant a lot to him. It was important to him.”
Forward Frans Nielsen, who also happened to be waived by Detroit earlier this year, spoke glowingly of Svechnikov.
“He’s such a good kid, he comes in every day and works so hard,” Nielsen said. “He deserves everything. I’m so happy for him, and hopefully, this is a little breakthrough for him so he can stick around a little bit.
“I see first-hand how hard he works in the summer. I don’t think anyone in here works harder than he does and wants this more than him. To see him come into camps and get injured and lose long times (to injury), I’m just so happy for him to see him back.
“He does have a lot of skill. He has one of the best shots on the team for sure, it’s very quick and reminds me of his brother (Carolina’s Andrei Svechnikov) so he has a lot of tools. Hopefully, this is a confidence builder for him”
– – Quotes via Ted Kulfan of The Detroit News Link – –