Detroit’s top pick in 2015 Evgeny Svechnikov is in “a good position mentally and physically”

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Evgeny Svechnikov’s future in Detroit was uncertain after the Red Wings placed him on waivers on Jan.11.

But after removing the hesitation and returning to the Grand Rapids Griffins, it’s clear the former Detroit top pick hasn’t given up on his dream of playing for the Red Wings.

However, it will take him a little longer to do so.

Svechnikov received praise from Grand Rapids coach Ben Simon after the Griffins completed their first day of training camp on Sunday at the Van Andel Arena. Svechnikov attended training camp for the Red Wings and is now eager to win a trip home to Detroit.

“Her head is probably in the best place it has ever been,” said Simon. “He has a great work ethic and a great attitude. He wants to take it to the next level. He wants to be an NHL player. He cares a lot about his own development, this team and this organization. He wants to be a Red Wing. We realize it.

Grand Rapids is scheduled to open the 2021 season in Chicago on Friday. The Griffins will play their first four road games before facing Cleveland in their home opener on February 20.

The 6-3, 205-pound left winger was Detroit’s top pick in 2015 and the 19th overall pick. However, his career has been filled with injuries, setbacks and inconsistent play.

It has been reported that Svechnikov injured his arm during the camp with the Red Wings. But he said via Zoom on Sunday that he was physically fine.

“Nothing has really changed,” said Svechnikov. “I am focused on myself, which is what I can do first and foremost. There are things that I cannot control and that I cannot be frustrated with. I just want to be myself everyday. This is who I am, work hard to get there and be professional and do well every day and focus on improving myself. The time will come. I have to believe and keep fighting and focus on myself. It’s my state of mind.

Svechnikov is a 24-year-old from Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Russia. Svechnikov played 20 games over three seasons with the Red Wings, scoring two goals and collecting two assists. He missed the 2018-19 season after tearing an ACL in the preseason.

“He’s been through a lot,” Simon said. “Obviously two years ago he was gone and all season because of his knee injury and tail to resume play. This year he’s coming back to Grand Rapids after completing the waivers.

“Our job as a staff is to help him achieve his dreams, if and when this opportunity is given to him to go up there and the next chance he gets, he makes the most of it. But mentally, he’s in a good position, and physically, he looks great. He’s stronger than he’s ever been and we can’t wait to get him back into the games. “

Svechnikov played 51 games last season at Grand Rapids and finished with 11 goals and 14 assists. He signed a new one-year contract with the Red Wings last August.

“It was great, it was fun to be back with some of the guys who were here before,” said Svechnikov. “We have a good group of guys right now. Obviously, with me, it’s already my second camp, so it’s nothing new. It’s been a long layoff, and I think the guys are just anxious, playing and excited to be there soon. Five more days and we play again. It was good to be back at camp with the guys. Everyone is ready and excited to go. Hopefully we’ll be ready to play soon.

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