– Ryan Suzuki –
Barrie Colts (OHL) | Center | 2019 NHL Draft Eligible
London, Ontario, Canada | May 28, 2001 | 6-foot, 172-pounds
Ryan Suzuki, brother of Golden Knights’ prospect, Nick, was the 1st overall selection at the 2017 OHL Priority Selection. A natural playmaker, Ryan has incredible hockey sense, dubbed one of the smartest OHL prospects in recent years by Elite Prospects. He racked up 14 goals and 44 points in 64 games with the Colts last year.
Suzuki skates effortlessly and can beat defenders to the outside with impressive top speeds. He has performed admirably in international competition for Team Canada, including the IIHF U17 Championships and the recent Hlinka Gretzky Cup, quickly rising to be an on-ice leader for both teams.
- Hockey Sense
Suzuki is an incredibly smart individual, on and off the ice. He seems to see the game one step ahead of everyone else, utilizing his innate instincts to find open space. Suzuki uses this ability when in possession of the puck as well, slowing the game down to find minuscule passing lanes which create scoring chances for his teammates.
A smooth skater, Suzuki accelerates quickly and maintains incredible agility at top speeds while controlling the puck with ease. He has surprising lower-body strength and can employ it to protect the puck against larger opponents. Suzuki also has astonishingly silky hands and the creativity to turn defenders inside out regularly.
- Consistent Scoring Ability
While Suzuki has shown flashes of dynamic scoring abilities, he has yet to consistently use his underrated shot at the OHL level. On a strong Barrie team last year, Suzuki tended to resort to feeding his teammates more often than using his own shot. If he wants to rise up the draft rankings in 2019, Suzuki will need to find ways to use his shot more consistently.
With many of the Colts’ top centermen moving on from last year, Suzuki is sure to see top-line minutes each night in 2018-19. As such, he must use his strong wrist shot to earn the respect of his opponents. If he can prove to be both a dangerous sniper and playmaker, then watch for his goal and point totals to increase exponentially this season.
Ryan Suzuki projects to be a top-six center at the NHL level. He plays a complete 200-foot game and has the hockey sense and skating abilities to thrive in today’s league as an elite playmaker. Comparables include Claude Giroux and Mathew Barzal. Heading into the ’18-19 season, Suzuki projects to be a Top-15 pick at the 2019 NHL Draft.