Red Wings prospect Evgeny Svechnikov called up as Frans Nielsen sidelined
Detroit Red Wings players and coach Jeff Blashill discuss the lack of competitiveness early, the comeback and late mistakes in a wild 6-5 OT loss in Boston on Tuesday, March 6. Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press
An injury to Detroit Red Wings forward Frans Nielsen spells opportunity for prospect Evgeny Svechnikov.
Svechnikov will play Thursday when the Wings host the Vegas Golden Knights at Little Caesars Arena. Nielsen will miss that game and Friday’s at Columbus after sustaining an upper-body injury Tuesday when he was hit by Boston’s David Backes in a 6-5 overtime loss at TD Garden.
The NHL department of player safety announced a three-game suspension for Backes Wednesday afternoon.
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Nielsen was slow to get up and underwent concussion protocol testing during first intermission. He will be reassessed Monday. He is one of the Wings’ most versatile forwards, averaging around 16 minutes per game and playing both special teams.
Even if Nielsen is able to play Monday at San Jose — or later in the California-Colorado trip — Svechnikov will be staying past Nielsen’s return.
The Wings are eager to get a look at their 2015 first-round pick, who has rallied from a challenging first half with the Grand Rapids Griffins to reach seven goals and 15 assists in 52 games.
Svechnikov, 21, impressed in his first year of pro hockey, hitting the 20-goal mark and helping the Griffins to the 2017 Calder Cup championship.
He was penciled in to challenge for a spot in Detroit this past season, but that was derailed by an injury during exhibition season.
Contact Helene St. James: email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames.