Scout Quote

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.

AJ’s Thoughts

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.


Avalanche Fit

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


A.J. Haefele, was born in Aurora, Colorado, raised in Katy, Texas and is the Avalanche Editor and Editor-In-Chief of BSN Denver. Education: A.J. studied at Stephen F. Austin State University before moving back to Colorado in 2009. Career:  Before joining BSN Denver, A.J. had been writing for and briefly managed the popular Avalanche blog, Mile High Hockey. A.J. began contributing in 2010 with detailed practice reports, training camp coverage, and in-depth looks at Colorado’s divisional foes. He would expand his horizons with free agency analysis, draft coverage, and more day-to-day looks at the team before taking over the blog as Co-Managing Editor. It was a short-lived tenure atop before BSN Denver came calling. Most memorable sports moment: Ray Bourque lifting the Stanley Cup in 2001. John Elway winning his first Super Bowl is a very close second but Bourque winning the Cup and finishing “Mission 16W” is one of the greatest stories in all of sports. The finest sports book I’ve ever read: Big fan of “Moneyball”. The implications on the sport and the inside look at how an organization changed its attitude to exploit a market inefficiency was fascinating. One sports movie that I can’t live without: There aren’t really any I dislike. Major League and Cool Runnings were my favorites growing up but Miracle and Goon have been my favorites as an adult. Also can’t live without the Rocky and now Creed movies. Most memorable experience as a reporter: Covering the 2017 NHL Draft was a dream come true for me. I’d always wanted to attend a draft and I got to do it while covering the team selecting fourth overall. Interviewing Cale Makar after he was selected is something I’ll never forget. The sport that started it all: Baseball! My dad was an enormous baseball fan and when the Rockies came into existence, it was an instant bond for the two of us and created sports fanaticism that has defined most of my life.

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