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Preview/Lines #10: Svechnikov Gets Shot on Top Line

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Credit: Hockey Shots/Dean Tait

After signing a one-year, two-way contract with the San Jose Sharks, Evgeny Svechnikov did not know if he would start the season in the AHL or NHL.

Tonight, the 2015 first-round pick will get a chance to play on the Sharks’ top line with Tomas Hertl and Timo Meier.

“I think we can create something offensively,” Svechnikov said.

“He was a first-round pick because of his size and skill,” San Jose Sharks head coach David Quinn said after morning skate. “I think he may add something to those guys.”

With the Toronto Maple Leafs coming into SAP Center Thursday night and the Sharks searching for offense, line changes were in order.

“Timo has speed too. He can shoot the puck,” Svechnikov said. “And Tomas is very good down low, and my game is down low as well, so we have to grind and forecheck hard.”

The 6-foot-3 Svechnikov, who’s skilled with the puck in tight spaces, could prove to be a solid complement to Hertl and Meier’s down-low power game.

“He’s been productive from an offensive standpoint without playing a lot of power play time and the top two line minutes,” Quinn said of the winger, who had two goals and two assists in eight appearances this season.

Compared to his younger brother Andrei Svechnikov of the Carolina Hurricanes, Evgeny Svechnikov’s journey to an NHL top line hasn’t been a smooth one. Evgeny was drafted No. 19 overall by the Detroit Red Wings in 2015, but the Russian winger bounced between the AHL and NHL in his first five pro campaigns.

But last year, he signed a PTO with the Winnipeg Jets, earned an NHL contract out of it, played on a scoring line with Pierre-Luc Dubois and Kyle Connor, and notched a career-high 19 points and 72 games.

Playing with Hertl and Meier could be the perfect opportunity for the big forward to establish himself in the NHL; after all, Svechnikov is just 25 years old.

San Jose Sharks (2-7-0)

Kaapo Kahkonen will start, Nick Bonino is a game-time decision. The defense should be the same as against Vegas.

Toronto Maple Leafs (4-3-0)

Where to Watch

The San Jose Sharks will take on the Toronto Maple Leafs at 7:30 PM PST at SAP Center. Watch it live on NBC Sports California. Listen to it on the Sharks Audio Network.

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