Dale Money | June 11th, 2019
An agile 6-foot-1, 180-pound center for the Barrie Colts. Ryan Suzuki will be hoping to join his older brother Nick, who was drafted 13th overall in 2017 to the Vegas Golden Knights. Suzuki had very solid offensive performances for both his OHL club and internationally in 2018. Led all Colts scorers in points, contributing 25 goals, and 75 points in 65 games. An incredible spike in production from the year previously, where he had just 44 total points in one fewer games. Playing for Canada U18 at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup, he put up one goal and seven assists in five games played.
Suzuki is a kid that plays a flashy dynamic style of Hockey, can create something from nothing. His most notable strength would be his outstanding passing ability. Has that soft touch where he is able to softly glide it to other players on a continuous basis. But can also get the puck to separate players lightning quick with both accuracy and command. Add to that his great sense of vision, he will hold on to the puck a just long enough to create space in order to set up a scoring opportunity for a teammate. And you’ve got a tremendous playmaker.
Is arguably one of the top skaters entering the Draft, he can beat defenders wide and accelerate to the front of the net with his speed. He can shift gears while rushing the puck, which effectively catches defenders off-guard. Indeed his bread and butter is his passing, however, he does have a rather nifty wrist shot that can cause opposing goaltenders problems.
One drawback of Suzuki’s great playmaking talent is that he will make those mistakes. For instance, choosing to make that head-scratching pass when an opportunity to shoot presents itself. Is rather small, so needs to try and build up his frame a bit more. Will tend to shy away from the dirty areas of the ice, relying more on his finesse game. Has been able to avoid a lot of physical pounding, due to his solid escape ability. Can tend to lack intensity, as he will sometimes fall behind the play on occasions.
Suzuki has been projected to go as early as 10th and as late as 29th, I see him going in the 20th to the 24th range at the latest. If you’re looking to draft a player that can supply that gritty physical side of play, you aren’t going to get it with Suzuki. What you are getting is a true playmaker, someone that has no shortage of skills in his arsenal. His puck control, playmaking, creativity, and offensive vision are good enough that he has the potential to become a solid top-six forward in the NHL.
We’ve seen players like Patrick Kane and Johnny Gaudreau, for example, use their other attributes to escape psychical punishment as much as possible, and done quite well in the Pro ranks. So it can certainly be a successful strategy given the right player. Still, only 18 years of age he should spend at least another year with Barrie in the OHL.
Check out our other NHL Draft Profiles: Alex Turcotte| Victor Soderstrom|Dylan Cozens|Bowen Byram
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