A 6-foot-3 center, Svitov was the third overall pick in the 2001 draft. He struggled as a 20-year-old under coach John Tortorella in Tampa Bay and was traded to Columbus in 2003. In 2004-05, Svitov had 19 goals and 23 assists for 41 points plus 200 penalty minutes over 69 games with the Syracuse Crunch, the Blue Jackets' American Hockey League affiliate. The following season, he was 7-11-18 with 145 penalty minutes in 76 games with Columbus.
Born and raised in Omsk, Russia, Svitov played for his hometown team the last three seasons. His average tax-free income was said to be between the equivalent of $1.5 - 2 million a season. However, Svitov -- still just 27 years old -- wants to prove himself in the best league in the world. Although he was happy to play back home for Avangard in Omsk, Svitov and his wife are said to love North America. They are currently visiting Florida.
With his 6-3, 210-pound frame, decent hands and fighting ability (shown above), Svitov could be a valuable signing at a time when teams are looking for their version of Dustin Byfuglien. Last season he was 7-17-24 in 41 games with Omsk, fourth behind leading scorer Jaromir Jagr, who had 42 points in 51 games.
Like all free agents out of Europe, Svitov is eligible to be signed by an NHL team beginning on July 1.