It’s never too far to look ahead to the draft and as the offseason enters the dog days of summer, Russian prospect Andrei Svechnikov is already projecting to be the top pick in the 2018 NHL draft. The question, before the season even begins, is if Svechnikov is a generational talent in the mold of Connor McDavid, or Auston Matthews. Taken first overall in the CHL Import Draft by the Barrie Colts, the upcoming season will reveal if Svechnikov is the high end prospect many believe he’s developing into. Svechnikov will sign with the Colts prior to training camp, and could even push the words “generational” into the conversation.

Svechnikov’s older brother Evgeny plays in the Detroit Red Wings system and though an exciting prospect Wings fans are waiting to see, Andrei looks to be even better. MLive’s Mark Opfermann penned a piece on Svechnikov back in March when the ’18 class was in the shadow of the soon-to-be-drafted ’17 class. Opfermann wrote this about him:

“For his age, and you don’t even have to look at his age, let’s just say he’s a first-year player in the league, whatever age he is,” Muskegon Lumberjacks coach John LaFontaine said. “He doesn’t get pushed off the puck, he outmuscles guys to the net, his shot is deceptive and his ability to create plays is high end no matter what level you’re playing at. There’s no question, if he was a ’99 (birth year) and on the list this year, they’d be talking about him this year.”

The Hockey News’ Daniel Nugent-Bowman wrote back in December that Svechnikov has the potential to be the “next big thing” out of Russia. The big bodied, goal scorer has excelled on both the world stage and the amateur stage, taking USHL Rookie of the Year honors with Muskegon–playing in the league primarily as a 16-year-old. It’s expected that he’ll take the OHL by storm, cementing his status as the #1 overall pick.