Weight: 183 pounds
Date of birth: August 10, 1999
Hometown: London, Ontario
OHL Draft: Round 1, 14th overall, 2015 Priority Selection
Owen Sound attack center Nick Suzuki played his minor midget hockey for the London Jr Knights during the 2015-2015 season where, in 31 games, he scored a league leading 34 goals and league leading 86 points. He would win silver at the OHL Gold Cup in which he registered 3 goals and 6 points in 5 games. He also played in 6 games at the OHL Cup scoring twice and adding 4 assists in 6 games. Suzuki would be named the Alliance player of the year.
The Attack would make Suzuki the 14th overall pick at the 2015 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection.
Suzuki would go on to have an impressive rookie season and finish tied for 5th in goals by a rookie with 20. The coaching staff almost immediately had confidence in his abilities and he received top minutes 5-on-5 and on the powerplay. He scored 5 powerplay goals to go along with 4 assists. He also saw time on the penalty kill and scored a short-handed goal. He played for Team Canada White at the World Hockey Challenge Under-17 scoring once, with 4 points in 6 games. He was named to the OHL First All-Rookie Team.
Questions started to surface a year ago, about whether Suzuki had the size and strength to be successful at the NHL level. In some circles, there were questions about his defensive game and even his compete level when it comes to defence.
The 2016-2017 season began for Suzuki at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial. He scored 1 goal and 3 assists in 4 games.
Just about every question regarding Suzuki – except the size issue – has been answered this season. He’s been about the most consistent forward from start to finish this season. He was my pick for Draft Eligible Player of the Month for November and February. At the end of February, he was among the leaders in a variety of statistical categories among draft eligible players.
Suzuki is a complete player with a high compete level at both ends of the ice. He’s an intelligent player on and off the ice – he was named Academic Player of the Month for October. He thinks the game so well and processes what’s happening even before it happens. His anticipation is off the charts good. Combining the asset with his high end passing abilities makes him an offensive threat whenever the puck is on his stick. I don’t think there are many players who can differentiate between what is the better scoring chance: taking the shot myself, or setting up a teammate.
Suzuki is also not afraid of the dirty areas. He has impeccable timing, getting to loose pucks in front of the goal to knock in rebounds without fear. He’s also willing to engage along the walls, but the lack of strength is a problem for him.
Here’s the thing though when it comes to Suzuki: With an August 1999 birthdate, he’ll be just 17 years old when drafted – one of the youngest players eligible for the draft. So, he has more room to grow than most. If he was 6’2”, we’d be talking about him as a top 10 pick.
Suzuki was listed on NHL Central Scouting’s Players to Watch list as a B prospect in November. A B prospect is typically a second or third round pick. On their January mid-term rankings, Suzuki was ranked 16th among North American skaters.
This is the profile page of Nicholas Suzuki at Elite Prospects