The 2020 CHL Import Draft, which was held on June 30th, has come and gone. A total of 66 players were selected, 25 of whom were drafted by WHL teams.
Let’s take a closer look at what type of player the Oil Kings are getting and what can be expected moving into next season for Svanenbergs.
Svanenbergs has played all of his hockey in his native country of Latvia. This past season, he split some time between the KHL and MHL Russian leagues. In 12 games for Dinamo Riga of the KHL, Svanenbergs had one assist. While spending the majority of his season with HK Riga of the MHL, he had 25 goals and 15 assists over 54 games.
Svanenbergs also played for Latvia at the 2019-20 World Junior Division 1A tournament, where he registered three goals and five assists in five games on his way to a silver medal for Latvia.
Attributes and Potential
Standing six-foot-three, 190 pounds, Svanenbergs has great size to use as an advantage on the ice. To complement his size, he has tremendous skill as well. He is agile, and around the net, he is quite slick with the puck.
Perhaps what stands out most is Svanenbergs’ ability to shoot the puck. He has deadly accuracy, which could become a valuable weapon for the Oil Kings to use on their power play and for their offence in general.
What to Expect from Svanenbergs
Svanenbergs has an impressive resume. With professional experience in the KHL already under his belt, he knows what it’s like to play against seasoned men. This will prove to be a great asset for him in his transition to the WHL next season as a mature 19-year-old.
The Oil Kings will need to supplement offence lost with the departure of top-scoring veteran forward Riley Sawchuk. Svanenbergs will have to earn his way, but he will surely be given every opportunity to succeed with head coach Brad Lauer shepherding the young forward along.
The Latvian forward will get a chance to play in a scoring role for the Oil Kings and could see playing time with star players such as Dylan Guenther and Jake Neighbours. The team had one of the best lines in the league this past season in Guenther, Neighbours, and Sawchuk. Perhaps Svanenbergs could be a player to fill the void.
His 25 goals in 54 games for HK Riga in 2019-20 represents his potential to become a pure goalscoring machine in the WHL.
He is also eligible for the 2020 NHL Draft. According to Elite Prospects, Svanenbergs has been ranked #76 by NHL Central Scouting for European skaters.
It is highly possible that he could hear his name called at the NHL draft podium in the near future. His stock as an NHL prospect will greatly increase should he break out with a stellar debut WHL season with the Oil Kings in 2020-21.
All Signed Up
He was recently signed by the Oil Kings to a standard player agreement, which all but confirms his inevitable arrival to Edmonton next season.
All one has to do is look back at his career thus far. It is clear that his potential is very high. Expect to hear Svanenbergs’ name a lot around Edmonton when a new WHL season starts up again.
The Oil Kings could definitely have a real player here.