The Winnipeg Jets have signed depth forward Evgeny Svechnikov to a one-year, two-way contract according to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet. The deal will carry an NHL salary of $750K and an AHL salary of $215K. Svechnikov had attended Jets camp on a professional tryout after signing an AHL deal, but has earned his way onto the opening night roster. Winnipeg has assigned Ville Heinola to the Manitoba Moose to make room.
Svechnikov, 24, is not to be confused with his brother in Carolina. This forward was also selected in the first round, but his career to this point has been marred by injury and inconsistency. In 2020-21 he played the most NHL games of his career, suiting up 21 times with the Detroit Red Wings, but failed to receive a qualifying offer from the team in the summer. The two sides split and Svechnikov will now try to reinvent himself in Winnipeg.
Over 41 career games, the 6’3″ forward has scored five goals and 12 points, though those have come in very limited minutes. He still provides a bit of upside, but it’s hard to expect any player his age to really make the leap and make a real impact. More likely is that Svechnikov becomes useful depth for a team already loaded with talented forwards and plays spot duty throughout the year.
One thing to note is that if the Jets decide to send him to the minor leagues, he’ll have to clear waivers. Signing him after the season started helped with their LTIR calculation–Bryan Little has been moved there and will not play this season–but it also means they missed a chance to sneak him through with the other hundred players cut at the end of training camp. He’ll stick out, and there is at least some chance Svechnikov would be claimed by another team hoping to unlock his unfulfilled potential.