The penalties continued and the goal scoring dropped, but overall was it really a down year for Svech?
Andrei Svechnikov 2020-21 Season By The Numbers
- Age: 21
- NHL seasons: 3
- Scoring: 15 goals, 27 assists, 42 points in 55 games
- Advanced numbers: 54.70 CF%, 54.15 SCF%, 59.02 GF%, 55.37 xG%
- Average TOI: 17:32 ES, 2:56 PP, 0:01 SH
- Contract status: RFA
Andrei Svechnikov will be the first one to tell you he had what he would consider a down year in 2020-21 for the Carolina Hurricanes. Svechnikov is his own worst critic when it comes to his performance but the criticism may be slightly warranted. Going in to his third season in the NHL many thought there was a good chance he would lead the Canes in goals scored and take that next step to becoming a full-time first line guy. He did not.
Svechnikov spent most of the season bouncing all around the top nine, never really settling in to a defined slot. While he did finish tied for third on the team in scoring with 42 points (a 62-point pace over 82 games), his goals per game was down from his sophomore season. Svechnikov finished fifth on the team in goals scored with 15 with only four coming on the powerplay.
Andrei Svechnikov calls game. The Hurricanes beat the Blackhawks 4-3 in shootout and extend their winning streak to five games. Canes are now 6-1-0. pic.twitter.com/24gpFdYUMe
— Brett Finger (@brettfinger) February 3, 2021
The biggest letdown from Svechnikov this season was the return of the penalties. Unnecessary penalties have plagued Svechnikov his entire career as he has taken 58 penalties over his career so far. The next closest player during those three years was Dougie Hamilton at 39. For what it’s worth, Jaccob Slavin has had just 14 total during that time.
Svechnikov loves to take stick penalties and take them at very inopportune times. He led the team this season with 44 PIMs. As the season went on some of the calls against Svechnikov got a little ridiculous and at times it felt like he was being targeted by the officials. The flip side is he has gotten better at drawing penalties. He also led the team in that category by drawing 18 penalties.
Andrei Svechnikov gets two minutes for trying to score a goal. pic.twitter.com/ppyYqImjFg
— Brett Finger (@brettfinger) February 1, 2021
One of the neater parts of a COVID riddled season was getting to see Andrei Svechnikov vs Evgeny Svechnikov. That happened on March 16th vs the Detroit Red Wings and you could tell it meant a lot to both guys. With Evgeny struggling to make it full-time in the NHL, many wondered if this moment would ever happen. It was a night to remember for the Svechnikov brothers and it was reminiscent of the night three Staal brothers played together for the Canes.
It’s easy to criticize Svechnikov for his penalties and not quite meeting expectations but it’s also easy to see that maybe the expectations were too high. Looking at a guy with a 62-point pace over 82 games and saying he had a down year shows that many think he should be up there with Sebastian Aho in scoring and maybe Svechnikov just isn’t there yet. It also doesn’t help his case that Martin Necas was the new flashy kid on the block this year. Necas wowed with his speed and goal scoring ability and took some of the spotlight away from Svechnikov.
It will be very interesting to see what kind of contract Svechnikov ends up signing this offseason. It’s a matter of time for when he signs not if but the number and term will be fascinating to watch. Does he get eight years at $7+ million or is it a bridge deal at three years and closer to $6 million?
In the end there’s no doubt that Svechnikov is a true core piece to the future of the Hurricanes but it does seem like there’s still another gear he can get to where he becomes a superstar not just a top-six forward. This season was just a season for Svechnikov. Nothing special but nothing subpar. Can he elevate to that next level and push Sebastian Aho for the scoring title on the team? That’s one of the biggest questions remaining for the Canes as they look to go from a playoff team to a Stanley Cup favorite.
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