Suzuki is one of the smartest OHL prospects we have seen in years. He is a good skater, excellent passer and is very good at putting himself in scoring positions, where he rarely fails to capitalize. He does not play overly physical, but is very good at avoiding contact while doing so. He has excellent hands and all around vision. The top player in the Alliance Loop this season, his name was the very first called in April’s OHL Draft.
The Draft Analyst:
A dynamic offensive weapon with eyes in the back of his head and a top performer for both Barrie and Team Canada, Suzuki is the OHL’s top prospect for the 2019 NHL Draft. Blessed with blinding speed and acute hockey sense, the younger brother of 2017 first rounder Nick Suzuki is a bit more flashier and excitable with the puck, especially in open ice.
He’s more of a playmaker than a shooter, but Ryan owns an excellent wrist shot and can score off his backhand. Still, he seems more comfortable and confident dictating play with the puck on his stick and treating every teammate as a scoring-chance possibility. Suzuki a season ago was one of the OHL’s top rookies, but he enters his draft year as one of the circuit’s best overall players and a candidate to challenge for the scoring crown.
Suzuki has long been one of my personal favorites in this draft class. His hockey IQ is one of his best attributes and players finding the most success in today’s NHL are ones who can process the game at the highest level and I think Suzuki will excel in that area.
Where I wonder more about his game is how his offense will translate and if he has enough high-end ability to stick in the top six of a talented forward group. I think he’s definitely an NHL player but he might come with more limited upside because he just isn’t a game-breaking talent.
Any comparisons to his older brother will have you feeling like Ryan is lacking but he’s a solid all-around prospect in his own right. Nick is certainly the more dynamic player but Ryan has a wide array of quality abilities as well, including good skating and great playmaking ability. He’s not much of a shooter, though that aspect of his game took a definite leap this season, and I worry how much he’ll translate to the NHL. If he’s a 20-goal guy, his playmaking should make him an easy top-six center. If he’s more of a 12-15-goal scorer in the NHL, you might be talking about a third liner.
With the 16th pick, Suzuki would be a pretty natural fit for Colorado regardless of what they do with the fourth pick. If they get a high-end center before him, Suzuki might end up looking more like a 3C for the Avalanche down the road. That’s not necessarily a bad thing because it would likely mean they’re quite set upfront but it’s also not an ideal use of the 16th pick.
Of course, if Suzuki hits and breaks out, he could be a high-quality 2C that really ties a bow on what Colorado is building. He’s an intriguing fit for the organization but he’s been on a bit of a decline the second half of the season and might end up more of a late-first round player rather than mid-first.
#12 Future Considerations
#12 Bob McKenzie