Carolina Hurricanes winger Andrei Svechnikov—about to start his third NHL season—is on the cusp of stardom. With an unprecedented campaign just around the corner, what can we expect from the Russian phenom?
Make no mistake, Andrei Svechnikov carried a high level of anticipation into his rookie season.
In case you were sleeping, he didn’t disappoint.
Appearing in all 82 games, Svechnikov posted 20 goals and 17 assists. That’s more impressive when you consider that Hurricanes’ coach Rod Brind’Amour let the rookie earn his ice time. Svechnikov wasn’t tossed onto the top line and given free rein; he started low in the lineup and proved himself. The coach also wasn’t afraid to hold him accountable for taking bad penalties, something the winger has shown a knack for.
Svechnikov’s rookie season also saw the Hurricanes return to the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time since 2009. During his first season, Svechnikov showed a willingness—well, more like passion—for physical play, never shying away from playing the body. Using his 6′ 2″ frame to his advantage, he battled for loose pucks and fought for position and never looked like he was in over his head.
Then came “the fight.”
The Hurricanes opened the 2019 playoffs against the defending champion Washington Capitals and promptly dropped the first 2 games. Game 3 (the series’ first at PNC Arena) saw Carolina weather an early surge from the visitors before Warren Foegele netted the opening goal for the home team.
Just over a minute later, Svechnikov—who had been hounded by Washington superstar Alex Ovechkin—dropped the gloves with the Capitals’ sniper. The veteran bested the rookie, a fact that was overshadowed by Svechnikov suffering a concussion as a result of the fight. The Hurricanes went on to win the game and the series, however, Svechnikov wouldn’t return to the lineup until the third game of the second round. He finished the playoffs with 3 goals and 5 points in 9 games.