After the Wild made the offseason blockbuster trade (in our 2021 SB Nation Mock Draft world) sending defenseman Matt Dumba to the Philadelphia Flyers for their 13th overall pick, selecting center Aatu Räty with it and also getting young winger Elliot Desnoyers — they still had some picks to make later on.
With the 21st pick, their rightful pick, the Minnesota Wild have selected center Fyodor Svechkov.
The 6-foot center hailing from Togliatti, Russia is seen as one of the best defensively-minded forwards this draft. He can still certainly score some points, but his initial instincts and ability to see the entire play forming from either ends of the ice is something special to behold.
Fyodor Svechkov is really stinkin good at escaping pressure pic.twitter.com/PyZCALngKe— Dylan Griffing (@GriffingDylan) March 25, 2021
It might be a little boring — and just so damn typical — for the Wild to grab a guy that has defensive abilities with some minor offensive upsides, but I just feel like Svechkov can compliment this current crop of young talent like Marco Rossi, Marat Khusnutdinov, and Calen Addison, just so well. Drafting depending on need and current prospect pool isn’t ideal at all, but it just seems like he can gel with the rest of the youngsters almost immediately.
#14 by Elite Prospects
#36 by Scott Wheeler/The Athletic
#24 by Corey Pronman/The Athletic
#18 by FC Hockey
#30 by TSN
Svechkov’s draft stock certainly improved after a very telling U18 World Championships performance earlier this year, where he was able to score 10 points in just 7 games on a fairly stacked Russia squad. Even though it might be recency bias wiggling its way through the opinions of this young center, he does put up some damn good performances and ones that makes scouts just weep watching his defensive awareness and how well he scans the ice.
Fyodor Svechkov (not Svechnikov lol) makes the play to get the puck out of trouble in his own zone and then gets rewarded as the pass comes out front and he finds twine!— Tony Ferrari (@theTonyFerrari) April 27, 2021
The #2021NHLDraft prospect is making a name for himself here at the #WorldU18s pic.twitter.com/zZBG7d4TAo
In a fairly depth-driven draft, the Wild can spare the 21st overall selection for a player that some see as a top-15 pick — even TSN’s Craig Button has him ranked 6th overall on his latest draft board — so someone with that reputation of being a steady defensively-aware center, can spell out a long NHL career if it all pans out.
It might be a little tricky not getting an electric offensive talent in the first round, someone like a Simon Robertsson or a Xavier Bourgault, who was also available, but Svechkov just seems like an instant fit with the Wild’s current and future core, while also projecting as someone that might be able to play at a high level much sooner than someone that needs to develop their offensive for a few seasons in the minors.
There is no reason to not be excited about getting a player like Svechkov in the late first round, honestly.
Was Svechkov the right choice?
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Here are the rest of the first round picks to this point in our 2021 SB Nation NHL Mock Draft:
- D Owen Power — BUF
- F Matthew Beniers — SEA
- F Dylan Guenther — ANA
- D Luke Hughes — NJD
- F William Eklund — CBJ
- F Mason McTavish — DET
- F Kent Johnson — SJS
- D Simon Edvinsson — LAK
- D Brandt Clarke — VAN
- F Fabian Lysell — OTT
- G Jesper Wallstedt — CHI
- F Cole Sillinger — CGY
- F Aatu Räty — MIN
- D Corson Ceuelemans - DAL
- Chaz Lucius - NYR
- Matthew Coronato - STL
- Logan Stankoven - WPG
- Oskar Olausson - NSH
- Sebastian Cossa - EDM
- Isak Rosen - BOS
- Fyodor Svechkov - MIN