By Ted Kulfan, Detroit News
DETROIT — This hasn’t been a typical summer for Evgeny Svechnikov.
The Grand Rapids Griffins’ – and some day soon, Red Wings — power forward blinked and it’s already August.
Training camp is six weeks away.
Every day is one day closer.
“It’s been a different summer,” said Svechnikov, one of the guest instructors at the Red Wings Kids Camp at Joe Louis Arena this week. “A lot different. A lot shorter, (less time to) relax. I spent a little time at home (in Russia for a month) and now I’m excited to be back.”
There’s less time this summer, of course, because the Griffins won the AHL’s Calder Cup in mid-June.
That made for a shorter summer – but a whole lot of celebrations and unforgettable memories leading to that break.
Memories, and plenty of valuable experience.
“I learned a lot, honestly,” said Svechnikov, 20, who had 5 goals and 7 assists (12 points) in 19 playoff games. “We had a real close team, everything was set to win a championship, and it was an unbelievable effort by the team. So many, good memories a lot of fun winning the games.
“For myself, I learned a lot and I’m going to bring it into my future for sure.”
The next step will be training camp in September, where Svechnikov takes a crack at making the NHL roster.
The 2015 1st-round pick has a slim chance of making it past the final cut.
The Red Wings aren’t likely to keep Svechnikov unless he plays big, meaningful minutes, which is unlikely given the number of bodies in front of him on the depth chart.
But injuries also occur in the exhibition season, and Svechnikov is preparing to do everything he can to impress the front office and coaches.
“I’ve been working real hard and I’m going to show them everything I have,” Svechnikov said. “It’s going to be exciting. Everybody has a chance (to make the roster). Every single guy in camp has a chance.”
This will already be Svechnikov’s third NHL training camp, and after playing two games with the Red Wings late in the season, he’ll be extremely comfortable heading to Traverse City for camp next month.
“I feel a lot more confident and comfortable,” Svechnikov, who had 20 goals during the regular season in Grand Rapids.
“It’ll be exciting to see what the coaches want from you. I know I have to improve every practice there.
“I just have to be myself. They know me, they drafted me. I just have to do everything the coach wants and word hard in every practice.”
Svechinkov has concentrated on speed and skating this summer.
“My speed game, and be a little more balanced, strong on the edges, and be quick,” Svechnikov said. “Basically, overall, just everything.”
Svechnikov was part of Thursday’s camp along with Danny DeKeyser and fellow Griffin defenseman Vili Saarijarvi.
The entire day appeared to excite both camp participants – and the pro players.
“For us also, it’s awesome to see every kid playing hockey,” Svechnikov said. “To see what they do, and they see what we do. And for them, being around Joe Louis Arena and looking at everything.
“Everyone is just happy.”