I will start off by saying this is a decent pick that has potential. This kid is compared to Vatanen who looked like a stud for Anaheim in the playoffs with his speed and passing ability. I get it, he's smaller then most would want but the higher end skill is there and is pretty obvious from the videos I have watched of him.
Here is his 14-15 season in a nutshell, pretty impressive if you ask me:
U18 WJC All-Star Team
U18 WJC Best Defenseman
U18 WJC Most Assists by Defenseman (6)
U18 WJC Most Goals by Defenseman (3)
U18 WJC Most Points by Defenseman (9)
U18 WJC Silver Medal
U18 WJC Top 3 Player on Team
USHL All-Rookie Second Team
Helene St. James @HeleneStJames 15m15 minutes ago
Third round, RedWings draft defenseman Vili Saarijarvi, 5-10 Finn. HE SHOOTS RIGHT!!!
Lord Stanley @Pandaramaaa 7m7 minutes ago Helsinki, Finland
@HeleneStJames Faster than Darren Helm. Unique.
Dennis Schellenberg @ScoutingFactory 16m16 minutes ago
Red Wings arent afraid to pick what they think is best for them Saarijarvi is a smallish D but was the best Finnish D at the U18 #RedWings
Red Wings 19th overall pick. I think it's a good one and the fact they say he is pro ready is realgud.
Can't wait for training camp this year to see how these kids perform.
Evgeny Svechnikov has good size at 6’3″ and shows off an outstanding wrist shot and release. He also has an impressive snap shot and a very hard one-timer. When it comes to his shooting arsenal, Svechnikov has pro-ready skills. However, he is not just a one-trick pony as Svechnikov also has excellent vision and passing ability. He shows high-end offensive hockey IQ, making very smart plays with the puck on his stick and finding openings in the defence without it. He has tremendous skill and the stickhandling ability to protect the puck and to get by defenders. He also shows the willingness to play a power game when necessary, getting in hard on the forecheck, and battling hard in the corners and in front of the net. He pressures defenders and has been known to throw a big hit.
Evgeny Svechnikov is a strong skater with very good speed and acceleration. He loves to drive the net and can finish in close when he gets there. He shows great versatility on the rush as he has the speed to take a defender wide, the agility and strong stickhandling to beat them with his lateral movement, or by fooling them with changing speeds. He could add some lower body strength and be a bit stronger and more balanced on the puck.
Evgeny Svechnikov needs a lot of work in his defensive game. He tries to help out in his own end and uses his size to battle for pucks, but the other areas of his game are weak. He gets himself out of position and leaves the opposing team with passing lanes on a regular basis. He seems to try hard, but needs to really be coached on what he needs to do when he doesn’t have the puck. Svechnikov could improve with time, but right now his defensive game looks weak.
Evgeny Svechnikov has all the offensive skill to be a top line NHL forward if he meets his potential. There are some questions about his defensive game though, and he has a number of things he can learn from another year in junior and maybe a short AHL stint to follow that. Svechnikov’s style is reminiscent of Ilya Kovalchuk, but this is a stylistic comparison only and not a talent comparison with the former Thrashers/Devils star.
“Svechnikov may give some teams pause because of his Russian citizenship, but his upside should convince them he’s worth the risk. We’ve always thought he’d be more useful playing center and, halfway through Cape Breton’s 2014-15 season, that change was made — with phenomenal results. Svechnikov creates offense with his soft hands, size and strength and when his team doesn’t have the puck, he’s shown a decent commitment to making sure it stays out of his net. He had an excellent year with the Screaming Eagles and always maintained he came to North America to get ready for the NHL. That should make the team that selects him quite happy as big, offensive centers with an ability to defend are hard to find.”