Barrie Colts 2019 Draft Prospect: Ryan Suzuki #OHL #NHLDraft

Current Listings:

Height: 6' 0.75"
Weight: 180 lbs.
Shoots: Left
Position: Centre
Hometown: London, ON

Career History: 
Before joining the Barrie Colts, Ryan Suzuki played minor hockey with the London Jr. Knights AAA program in the 2016-2017 season. Per the 2017 OHL Draft Guide, he had 19 goals and 40 assists for 59 points in 32 games played during his minor midget season. Suzuki registered 9 goals and 13 assists for 22 points in 11 playoff games that year. For his efforts, Suzuki was named ALLIANCE Player of the Year.

During the 2017 OHL Cup, Suzuki recorded 1 goal and 4 assists for 5 points in 6 games played. He also played for Team ALLIANCE at the 2017 OHL Gold Cup and registered two goals in five games. The Colts thought so highly of him in his OHL draft year, that they made him the first overall pick in the 2017 OHL Priority Selection. During his draft year, he was affiliated with the London Nationals Jr. B team. He scored two goals in one game with that team. One of those goals was an absolute stunner! See the video below.
Suzuki went on that summer to try out for Team Canada for the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. He made the team and suited up for Team Canada Red. Ryan recorded 3 goals and 4 assists for 7 points in 6 games played and won a silver medal. At the time, I put together a highlight reel of his performance. Check it out below.

Ryan Suzuki earned OHL Second Team All-Rookie honors during his rookie season in Barrie with the Colts. He recorded 14 goals and 30 assists for 44 points in 64 games played. Note that Suzuki had limited power play time as a 16-year-old in the OHL. The Colts boasted one of the top offences in the league with Andrei Svechnikov, Aaron Luchuk, Dmitry Sokolov, and several other talented forwards. However, Suzuki made it count when he got chances and his confidence grew throughout the season. Below is a video with highlights from his first OHL season. 

During the 2018 summer, Suzuki made Team Canada's Hlinka-Gretzky Tournament squad. He was one of four players from the OHL who made the team. Ryan had 1 goal and 7 assists for 8 points in 5 games played. Team Canada won the gold medal. He gained a ton of confidence at the tournament, finishing third overall in tournament scoring. Here is a sample of his work from the event.

(Photo Credit: Hockey Canada Images) named Zuke as one of seven players to raise his draft stock at the Hlinka-Gretzky Tournament. See below.

Suzuki had a strong draft year in 2018-19 on a weak Barrie Colts team. The Colts finished 9th in the Eastern Conference and missed the playoffs for the third time in franchise history and the second time in the last three years. Suzuki led the team in plus-minus with a plus 7 rating and was the most consistent player on the team. There were certainly moments when he looked frustrated after the trade deadline, as the team struggled down the stretch. However, Suzuki showed true leadership by putting up a consistent effort each night and recorded 25 goals and 50 assists for 75 points, with only 14 minutes of penalties. Ryan was named an alternate captain of the Barrie Colts during the latter part of the season after being recognized as one of Barrie's leaders in the locker room. Here are some highlights from the 2018-19 campaign.

To cap off the year, Suzuki played in the U18 World Championship for Team Canada. Unfortunately, he was hurt during the tournament and only recorded one assist due to missed games and limited ice time due to the injury. This was the third time that Ryan wore Canadian colors in his young career.

Suzuki attended the 2019 NHL Combine and got a lot of attention from NHL teams. Check out some articles and video below that were pulled from the event. Ryan is constantly being compared to his brother Nick, who was drafted in the first round (13th overall) by the Vegas Golden Knights. Nick's rights were later traded to the Montreal Canadiens. Nick was the MVP of the OHL Playoffs as a member of the 2019 championship team, the Guelph Storm. Ryan Suzuki handled the media well during the combine and showed confidence in those sessions where he garnered plenty of attention.


Here is a report I did for Draft Pro (scouting service/media company I work for).

Expect Ryan Suzuki to be drafted in the first round of the 2019 NHL Draft. Most rankings have him somewhere in the middle of the first round. However, with his skill set and family pedigree, it wouldn't surprise me if he went off the board much sooner.

Suzuki is a super intelligent player who reads the play well in real-time and displays elite hockey intelligence. He has tremendous skating ability and pivots that move fast and effortlessly like him are at a premium for any draft. Teams covet these players and are always looking for a top-six centre that can motor. His skating is absolutely superb and he flies at top speed with very a high acceleration rate. Suzuki's edge work is incredible and he can stop on a dime. He turns sharply and accelerates out of his crossovers effectively. With his natural position being down the middle, he produces a staggering work rate due to the efficiency of his skating. Ryan uses his speed and east-west movement to create separation space. He rapidly changes speed, going from full throttle and down to idol and back to top speed in a blink, breaking the ankles of the opposing players in the process.

The best part of Ryan's game is his play making ability. His passing is super next level and he sees the ice so well. Suzuki's spacial awareness is fantastic, he has great vision, and he can make any pass (both forehand or backhand). His passes are typically very hard, accurate, flat, crisp and delivered with perfect timing. He can thread the needle effectively with an excellent touch on his saucer passes. His finishing ability is more about timing and positioning rather than an overwhelming shot or fire-cracker release. He gets himself into high percentage areas by attacking the middle of the ice before pulling a devastating fake to open up the goalie or selling pass before popping one upstairs. Ryan processes the game very quickly and has great hands - this helps him create tons of scoring opportunities. It's a miracle that his hands can keep up with his quick feet, but it all works. It's something special to watch.
(Jeff Bothwright/Cheap Seats Productions)

Another part of his game that I like is his hockey IQ. Ryan's hockey sense is off the charts and he is cognizant in all situations. He anticipates the play very well on both ends of the ice and he cuts off pucks regularly, transitioning these turnovers into scoring chances. His creativity is impressive and this can be attributed to his high overall intelligence level.

Defensively, Suzuki can cover a lot of space in the neutral zone by anticipating the play and cutting off passing lanes. While his toughness is underrated overall, he doesn't have the strength to move guys or dominate physically. This is not his game, but if he could add more upper body strength it would benefit him immensely with shielding the puck, winning draws, and playing tougher defense below the dots. He does a great job of reading plays and positioning, which eliminates a lot of offensive options for opponents.

The only thing I would knock a bit is the use of his shot. It's possible that he may need to shoot more because his shot is actually really good. Despite this weakness, his potential offensive upside for NHL teams with lottery picks will be hard to ignore.  

I'll finish with this. One of the best attributes of Suzuki is his ability to stay cool, calm, and collected under pressure. You never see him panic with the puck, and this is evident in his shootout goal below at the 2018-19 Barrie Colts training camp. The puck wouldn't settle and he patiently waited for it to flatten out while moving forward. After that, Zuke approached calmly and stickhandled around Kai Edmonds with a beautiful backhand deke goal. At the time Suzuki was 16 years old, I'd never seen a player with such high composure in Colts history. Note: the celebration was all in good fun. Suzuki is good buddies with Colts' goalie Kai Edmonds who is another pretty cool customer.

Good luck in the draft Zuke! #NHLDraft

More 2019 NHL Draft eligible Barrie Colts profiles.

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