Geek of the Week: Andrei the Giant

Michael Halbany

2020-03-29

Andrei Svechnikov dazzled in his sophomore campaign. The former second overall pick in the 2018 draft posted 24 goals, 37 assists, 61 points, which in a full 82 game season would have paced for 29 goals, 45 assists, and 74 points. He also contributed 183 shots on goal, a +9 plus/minus, 20 power play points, and 116 hits. He was a solid contributor in every category and finished tied for 22nd in Fantasy Hockey Geek Value based on Y! Standard Categories with his teammate Dougie Hamilton. A significant improvement from last season where he ranked 196th among skaters in Fantasy Hockey Geek value. The chart below is from Fantasy Hockey Geek and shows players with similar value.

Rank Player Team Pos FHG Value Games Played G A +/- SOG PPP HITS
18 Jack Eichel BUF C 65 67 36 41 7 223 27 40
19 Mika Zibanejad NYR C 64 57 41 34 9 208 27 51
20 Brady Tkachuk OTT LW 61 70 21 23 -13 255 8 297
21 Jonathan Huberdeau FLA LW 59 69 23 55 5 152 29 51
22 Andrei Svechnikov CAR LW/RW 55 68 24 37 9 183 20 116
22 Dougie Hamilton CAR D 55 47 14 26 30 170 12 52
23 Patrik Laine WPG LW/RW 54 68 28 34 8 226 16 97
24 Shea Theodore VGK D 54 70 12 33 12 218 16 20

Svechnikov was also was one of two players this season that finished in the 90th percentile or better for goals, assists, power-play points, plus/minus, shots on goal, and hits (minimum ten games played). The only other player able to accomplish this feat was J.T. Miller who I wrote about last week. It's hard to fathom that in only his second season as a 19-year-old, he was in the 90th percentile or better for all the Standard Y! categories. Does that mean you should draft him ahead of guys like Auston Matthews or Brad Marchand? No, but it does speak to the across the board production that he offers compared to players who don't stuff the stat sheet. On nights where he isn't scoring goals, he's at least contributing in other categories.

The sky is the limit for the Russian native. Among forwards at 5v5, his 0.88 expected goals per 60 minutes is tied for 23rd and ahead of names like Jonathan Marchessault, David Pastrnak, and John Tavares (via Natural Stat Trick). That's impressive company for someone who just turned 20 years old.  One of the key factors for his improvement this year is the increase in power-play minutes. This year he's averaged 2:57 minutes (60.5%) of power-play time, an improvement on last season's 1:55 minutes (39.2%). More minutes at 5v5 will go a long way towards aiding a statistical breakout. If you break down his season by quarter, his ice time rose by over a minute from Quarter 1 to Quarter 4, with the caveat that Quarter 4 is only a seven-game sample.

This isn't groundbreaking by any means, but the big breakout is coming for him, the only question at this point is when? His shooting percentages at 5v5 in two seasons have been 8.39% and 10.92%. He'll have to either improve his shot attempt rate of 14.09, which ranks 75th among all forwards or take advantage of a percentage binge with his shooting percentage for him to get to 40+ goals.

It'll be interesting to see where his ADP is when drafts return (fingers crossed) in the fall. His draft position for next season may be the last time you can get him outside the first few rounds. He'll assuredly be on everyone's wish list at drafts, meaning his ADP will be inflated. The nice thing is that he's such a contributor in all the major categories that even if the breakout doesn't come, drafting him won't ruin your season. His penchant for stuffing the stat sheet gives him a solid floor and even if he doesn't reach the heights that many have set for him, he'll at least contribute plus production in each of the standard categories.

The key with him will be if you believe the big season will happen in 2020-2021 or 2021-2022.  I'm leaning towards 2021-2022 being the breakthrough, elite goal-scoring season because I'm not sure his ice time will improve significant at 5v5 compared to this season. However, I would still buy him aggressively ahead of next season because he has the upside to score 40+ goals.

UPCOMING GAMES

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STARTING GOALIES

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HOT PLAYERS

  Players Team GP G A P
EVGENI MALKIN PIT 5 4 7 11
ADAM FOX NYR 4 1 6 7
JAKUB VORACEK PHI 6 0 10 10
NATHAN MACKINNON COL 5 2 6 8
MIKA ZIBANEJAD NYR 29 25 19 44
NIKITA KUCHEROV T.B 24 16 20 36
KEVIN FIALA MIN 11 9 7 16
EVANDER KANE S.J 7 5 5 10
KYLE CONNOR WPG 7 8 2 10
RYAN NUGENT-HOPKINS EDM 17 8 16 24

LINE COMBOS

  Frequency STL Players
23.2% BRAYDEN SCHENN JADEN SCHWARTZ ALEXANDER STEEN
22.8% SAMMY BLAIS RYAN O'REILLY DAVID PERRON
18.6% IVAN BARBASHEV MACKENZIE MACEACHERN OSKAR SUNDQVIST

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