clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Pensburgh Top 25 Under 25: #12 - Lukas Svejkovsky

It was a tough rookie season for a talented player, but not without glimpses of promise

AHL: MAR 04 Cleveland Monsters Outdoor Classic vs Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Our summer countdown of the top young players in the Penguins’ organization rolls on with a young defenseman who is about to start his professional journey this season.

2023 Pensburgh Top 25 Under 25: Graduates and Departed
#25: Daniel Laatsch
#24: Cooper Foster
#23: Thimo Nickl
#22: Dillon Hamaliuk
#21 Mikhail Ilyin
#20: Jack St. Ivany
#19: Chase Yoder
#18: Emil Jarventie
#17: Nolan Collins
#16: Raivis Ansons
#15: Ty Glover
#14: Taylor Gauthier
#13: Isaac Belliveau

#13: Lukas Svejkovsky, LW/RW

2022 Ranking: No. 11

Age: 21 (November 23, 2001)

Height/Weight: 5’9”/170 lbs.

Acquired Via: 2020 NHL Draft - Round 4 - Pick 108

Elite Prospects resume:

As rookie seasons go, 2022-23 was a learning year and building up from the ground floor for Lukas Svejkovsky.

“It’s definitely a big jump, junior to pro, on and off the ice,” the 21-year-old forward said to the Tribune Review in March. “Living by myself for the first time. Really having to take care of myself for the first time. No (billet families) around or parents.”

That’s a lot of change and growth for a young person to experience, on at off the ice. It proved to be a slow transitional year for Svejkovsky, sprinkled with glimpses of high-end skill. Svejkovsky was a frequent healthy scratch early in the season at the AHL level as he got up to speed and dealt with the changes he faced as a young pro athlete. It took all the way until January for him to record his first goal of the season. But when he scored it, it was something to take note of: a move to jump out for a breakaway and finish with a nice backhand move.

Thus a fitting general summary of Svejkovsky’s rookie season: long periods of waiting followed by showing the stuff of what has made him a promising youngster on the ice via his offensive ability with the puck.

A week earlier, Svejkovsky set up this goal in a way that stands out for his vision, patience and passing ability on the primary assist.

Unfortunately as soon as Svejkovsky was growing in January, he got knocked off track with an injury for a handful of games to take him right back out of the lineup. Svejkovsky would return by February and even be playing on Wilkes-Barre’s second line for a while before another short-term injury sidelined him yet again.

“I’m not really too focused on points at all,” Svejkovsky said via video conference in March to the same Trib article linked above. “Those will come if I just stick to my game and play well. I just focus on bringing the same thing every night. Just playing fast and skilled and just competing every night and every shift. It’s definitely a bit of an adjustment putting up a lot of numbers in junior.

In that sense, he under-stated the obvious. Svejkovsky showed he could make plays and create offense through his passing — which he was excellent at in the WHL level in juniors. It was a huge step up in competition to the AHL level, which took its toll but it still came out a bit that he could flash enough of that talent to be a dynamic, offensive player. That in itself makes Svejkovsky extremely valuable to the Penguins — their listing of prospects with high-end skill at the pro level are limited. Maybe even non-existent besides Svejkovsky and Valtteri Puustinen.

Now after taking some lumps and learning the ropes in Year 1, the time is right for Svejkovsky’s chance to make a move in Year 2. The NHL level looks very far off yet for him, but attainable goals should be to step up and become a key player in Wilkes, and one of the better players up there as far as playing on the power play and producing more and playing more in 2023-24 than he was able to in his rookie year. To what degree Svejkovsky can or can’t take those strides will likely shape the career path of the future.

Going into his draft+4 year, if he is to emerge as a player with a realistic NHL future, it will probably have to start showing sooner than later given his age, slight frame and injury concern. Such a future could be on the table yet, but 2023-24 will be the opportunity and best chance to make the move in that direction for Svejkovsky.