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Thursday, September 13, 2018

2019 NHL Draft Profile: Ryan Suzuki

2019 NHL Draft Profile: Ryan Suzuki
(By: Ryan McArthur - @ryanpmcarthur on Twitter)

(Photo Credit: Hockey Canada Images)

Current Listings:

Height: 6' 0.25"
Weight: 171 lbs.
Shoots: Left
Position: Centre
Hometown: London, ON

Career History: 

Before joining the Barrie Colts, Ryan Suzuki played minor hockey with the London Jr. Knights AAA program. Per the 2017 OHL Draft Guide, he had 19 goals and 40 assists for 59 points in 32 games played during his minor midget season. During the 2017 OHL Cup, Suzuki had 1 goal and 4 assists for 5 points in 6 games played. The Colts thought so highly of him in his OHL draft year, that they made him the first overall pick in the 2017 OHL Priority Selection. During his draft year, he was affiliated with the London Nationals Jr. B team. He scored two goals in one game with that team. One of those goals was an absolute stunner! See the video below.



Suzuki went on that summer to try out for Team Canada for the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. He made the team and suited up for Team Canada Red. Ryan recorded 3 goals and 4 assists for 7 points in 6 games played and won a silver medal. At the time, I put together a highlight reel of his performance. Check it out below.


Ryan Suzuki earned OHL Second Team All-Rookie honors during his rookie season in Barrie with the Colts. He recorded 14 goals and 30 assists for 44 points in 64 games played. Note that Suzuki had limited power play time as a 16 year old in the OHL. The Colts boasted one of the top offenses in the league with Andrei Svechnikov, Aaron Luchuk, Dmitry Sokolov, and several other talented forwards. However, Suzuki made it count when he got chances and his confidence grew throughout the season. Below are a couple great videos with highlights from his first OHL season. There is also more footage of Suzuki during the U17 program in the second video.



This summer, Suzuki made Team Canada's Hlinka-Gretzky Tournament squad. He was one of four players from the OHL who made the team. Ryan had 1 goal and 7 assists for 8 points in 5 games played. Team Canada won the gold medal. He gained an incredible amount of confidence at the tournament, finishing third overall in tournament scoring. Here is a sample of his work from the event.




Bob McKenzie released his preliminary 2019 NHL Draft rankings and  the guru ranked Zuke 10th overall. Craig Button also released his preliminary 2019 NHL Draft rankings and Suzuki was listed at 13th overall. Check that out below.


Finally, NHL.com named Zuke as one of seven players to raise his draft stock at the Hlinka-Gretzky Tournament. See below.


Analysis:

Ryan Suzuki should be picked in the top five of the 2019 NHL Draft, but I must note my bias as a Colts fan. However, I will justify my reasoning below. Centers with his skating ability are at a premium for any draft. Teams covet these players and are always looking for a franchise pivot that can motor. His skating is absolutely superb and he flies at top speed with very high acceleration. Suzuki's edge work is incredible and he can stop on a dime. His natural position is down the middle and he produces a staggering work rate. Ryan uses his speed to his advantage to create space by rapidly changing his speeds. Opposing players can't match his skating, resulting in broken ankles of the players trying to keep up.

The best part of Ryan's game is his playmaking ability. His passing is super next level and he sees the ice so well. Suzuki's spacial awareness is fantastic, he has great vision, and he can make any pass (both forehand or backhand). Ryan processes the game very quickly and has great hands - this helps him create tons of scoring opportunities. It's a miracle that his hands can keep up with his quick feet, but it all works. It's something special to watch.

Another part of his game that I like is his hockey IQ. Ryan's hockey sense is off the charts and he is cognizant in all situations. He anticipates the play very well on both ends of the ice and he cuts off pucks regularly, transitioning these turnovers into scoring chances. His creativity is impressive and this can be attributed to his high overall intelligence level.

The only thing I would knock a bit is the use of his shot. It's possible that he may need to shoot more, because his shot is actually really good. Everyone expects him to pass, therefore mixing in some fake passes could fool goalies/defenders and he could get some sneaky goals that way. Watch for Suzuki to use his shot much more and score a ton in 2018-19. Overall, his offensive upside for NHL teams with lottery picks will be hard to ignore.  

I'll finish with this. One of the best attributes of Suzuki is his ability to stay cool, calm, and collected under pressure. You never see him panic with the puck, and this is evident in his shootout goal below at the 2018-19 Barrie Colts training camp. The puck wouldn't settle and he patiently waited for it to flatten out while moving forward. After that, Zuke approached calmly and stick handled around Kai Edmonds with a beautiful backhand deke goal. Ryan's composure is better than any 16 year old I've ever seen in a Colts uniform. Note: the celebration was all in good fun. Suzuki is good buddies with Colts' goalie Kai Edmonds who is another pretty cool customer.


Ryan Suzuki finished the 2018 preseason with 4 goals and 2 assists for 6 points in 5 games played. He scored a beautiful goal on Saturday night short handed on a two on one and had a fantastic assist. That assist is 13 seconds into the video below. The Colts deployed him on the point during the power the exact same way Team Canada did at the Hlinka-Gretzy Memorial Tournament this summer. Suzuki loops in so he is moving forward when he gets the puck. His timing couldn't be any more perfect when he does this. Suzuki is a super intelligent player who reads the play well in real-time and times these loops perfectly.


Here are some of Suzuki's early season highlights from the 2018-19 OHL season. Through 7 games played, Ryan Suzuki led the OHL in scoring with 15 points!!



Good luck to Ryan Suzuki on getting drafted as high as possible in the 2019 NHL Draft!! 

Go get 'em Zuke!!



Additional Articles by Ryan McArthur:


Barrie Colts Prospect Report - 2018 OHL Gold Cup 





GO COLTS GO!!!

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