Detroit Red Wings’ Evgeny Svechnikov goes unclaimed on waivers, stays with organization

Detroit Free Press

Helene St. James
| Detroit Free Press

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Evgeny Svechnikov may yet be a factor for the Detroit Red Wings.

The former first round pick went unclaimed after being put on waivers, allowing the Wings to either keep him on their roster, assign him to their taxi squad, or send him to the Grand Rapids Griffins. 

Svechnikov, 24, was placed on waivers Monday along with numerous other players in the organization, all of whom cleared. Even with rosters expanded from the usual 21 to 23 because of the pandemic, the Wings deemed Svechnikov expendable.

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The team was off Tuesday, a last break before opening the pandemic-delayed 2021 season Thursday against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Svechnikov’s future with the Wings is uncertain. General manager Steve Yzerman extended Svechnikov for one year, $874,125 last summer. His attempt to gain a foothold this season were thwarted when he left the Jan. 5 scrimmage with an apparent injury to his right arm, costing him a week of camp at a crucial time.

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Svechnikov (6-foot-3, 208 pounds) could work his way into the lineup as a grinder on the fourth line — well below the expectations the Wings had when they drafted him at 19th in 2015.

His history with the organization has been one of early promise followed by frustration. He scored 20 goals in his first season of pro hockey, in 2016-17, with the Grand Rapids Griffins, and helped them win the Calder Cup with 12 points in 19 AHL playoff games. But he struggled the following season, recording just seven goals among 23 points.

Then it got worse.

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During an exhibition game in September 2018, Svechnikov blew out a knee, requiring surgery that cost him the entire 2018-19 season. He appeared in four games in October 2019 for the Wings, otherwise spending the season with the Griffins, where he had 11 goals and 14 assists in 51 games.

The other players who cleared are forwards Dominic Turgeon, Turner Elson, Kyle Criscuolo, Riley Barber; defensemen Brian Lashoff, Dylan McIlrath and Joe Hicketts; and goaltenders Calvin Rickard and Kevin Boyle.

Contact Helene St. James at Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames. Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter. Her book, The Big 50: The Detroit Red Wings is available from AmazonBarnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail. 

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