Kirt Hill added more size and skill to his Edmonton Oil Kings roster by drafting Janis Svanenbergs 58th overall in the CHL Import Draft.
Svanenbergs is a 6’3″, 190-pound 2001 forward from Riga, Latvia. He spent last season in his hometown in spending the majority of his time in the MHL with the HK Riga; however, he also had a brief stint with the Dinamo Riga of the KHL.
He played in 54 games for HK Riga netting a team-leading 25 goals and 40 points in his second season in the MHL. Before that, Svanebergs played two seasons with HK Riga dressing in 90 games and scoring 14 goals and 34 points and was named to the MHL All-Stat game. During his time in the KHL, he played in 12 games for Dinamo Riga and grabbed himself one assist.
The experience Svanebergs brings with him is huge. Not many players in this draft had the chance to play in the KHL and be around those pros like he did, but also playing 144 MHL games was vital. That experience helps separate him from other imports heading to the CHL.
Along with the experience gained from his club teams, Svanebergs has represented Team Latvia at multiple levels. Most recently, he played for the U20 team at the World Junior Championship in D1A. He had a strong tournament scoring three goals and eight points in five games as Latvia went on to finish second and narrowly miss out on promotion.
As you can probably tell by now, Svanebergs has a scoring touch. He gets himself into scoring opportunities often but can also create them for himself. He could become very dangerous on the Oil Kings power play playing the “Alex Ovechkin” shooting role depending on how the units lineup.
The new Oil Kings forward could fit in perfectly as David Kope’s replacement. He could be the guy you place up and down your lineup that’ll give you depth scoring but also that extra bit of size. Svanebergs can also slot in at centre to which makes him that much more valuable.
The hope now will be that Svanebergs can adapt a little easier than Jesse Seppala who they recently released. He’ll more than likely be the Oil Kings second import which would max them out. Their other import is Vladimir Alistrov who is entering his third season in Edmonton.