Weight: 170 pounds
Date of birth: May 28, 2001
Hometown: London, Ontario
OHL Draft: 1st overall pick, 2017 Priority Selection
NHL Central Scouting Rankings: Pre-season, November: A prospect. Mid-term: 10th overall, NA
Barrie Colts’ pivot Ryan Suzuki is the younger brother of the Guelph Storm’s Nick Suzuki, who was the 13th overall pick at the 2017 National Hockey League Draft by the Vegas Golden Knights (since traded to the Montreal Canadiens). Many in the scouting community coming into this season believed Ryan would be picked higher then his elder brother come this June in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Ryan played his Minor Midget AAA hockey with the London Jr Knights during the 2016-2017 season amassing 19 goals and 40 assists in 32 games. He would add 9 goals and 13 assists in 11 playoff games, leading the Knights to the Championship. He led the league in assists and points and was named the Alliance Hockey Player of the Year.
Following his Minor Midget season, he would appear in 1 game with the London Nationals of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League scoring 2 goals. And in 6 playoff games he recorded a goal and 3 assists.
Ontario Hockey League Central Scouting had this to say about Ryan:
Ryan is one of the most skilled players in this year’s Priority Selection. He is the type of player that makes
everyone around him better. Ryan is an unselfish player that sees the ice better than most at this age group. He makes plays that a lot of people don’t see developing from the stands and his passes are usually tape to tape. He is a good skater with the ability to beat players off the rush. He is dangerous every time he is on the ice. Ryan will be an offensive force in the OHL.
Ryan appeared in 64 games for the Colts last season compiling 14 goals and 30 assists. He would be named to the OHL Second All-Rookie Team. Ryan would also represent Canada at the World Hockey Challenge Under-17. In 6 games he scored 3 goals and 4 assists, helping Team Red capture a silver medal.
This season began with Ryan representing Canada once again, this time with Team Canada at the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup. He scored once and added 7 helpers and helping Canada win a Gold Medal.
The Colts did not make the playoffs this season, and sadly, Ryan’s OHL season has come to an end. He appeared in 65 games and scored 25 goals and 50 assists.
One area of Ryan’s game that he needs to work on is faceoffs. His game is best suited down the middle so improve on winning 453 of 989 draws (45.8%) is vital.
The second area is learning to be a more selfish player. Possessing the threat that you might shoot to go along with what borders on elite playmaking abilities opens up more possibilities. And Ryan has a very good shot. His shot percentage is at 16.5%, but when you consider he is at 18.2% from the low danger zone areas of the ice (19 of his goals come from that area), then you can see he can beat goaltenders from any area.
As mentioned, Ryan’s playmaking abilities border on elite. He sees the ice extremely well, and sees things developing before they actually do. And he can deliver a tape-to-tape pass or lead a teammate with a pass. The fact that 29 of his assists are primary assists speaks to the fact that he can deliver the disc for a scoring threat.
As much as Ryan is an offensive threat on the powerplay (8 goals and 20 assists) he has shown that he can be a threat when down a man as well, although the numbers don’t reflect that (2 goals, 1 assist). He thinks the game so well and has excellent anticipation that he can steal the puck defending and go on the attack in a flash. Defensively he understands the game and works hard at it. You won’t find many coming back on the backcheck harder then he does.
He transitions quickly. While he has good speed, I wouldn’t consider him a speedster. He is excellent at puck possession and gaining the zone with possession.
If you follow the independent scouting services available to you, then you will see there is a mixed bag of where Suzuki is ranked. The rankings are anywhere from 12th overall (including TSN’s Bob McKenzie’s ranking) to 23rd. NHL Central Scouting has him 10th among North American skaters and 2nd among OHL skaters, behind defenceman Thomas Harley of the Mississauga Steelheads.
Personally, I think it comes down to Suzuki and Arthur Kaliyev of the Hamilton Bulldogs. Take your pick: The playmaker or the goal scorer.