Date of Birth: March 5, 2004
Place of Birth: Khabarovsk, Russia
Ht: 6 foot 2 Wt: 172 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2022 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting: 26 (Amongst EU Skaters
- FC Hockey: 59
- TSN/Bob McKenzie: 65
- The Hockey Writers (Forbes): 60
- The Hockey Writers (Baracchini): 62
The NHL is a fast-paced league that emphasizes skill over pure size in the modern game. With that said, size still matters to scouts and general managers and players who have both size and the skill to match are very alluring. Enter Alexander Suzdalev who is a speedy winger who is hard to knock off the puck and has a proven offensive track record.
Known mostly as a playmaker who does have somewhat of a scoring touch to his game, Suzdalev has an attractive offensive toolkit that he can use to cause havoc for the opposition. His speed is notable, but it’s the deceptiveness with which he plays that’s really noticeable. Strong with the puck and a very capable stick-handler, Suzdalev can consistently make plays happen both for himself and especially for his teammates.
As a playmaker, Suzdalev has everything a team would be looking for in a player. His vision is excellent and his passing is crisp and typically on the mark. He’s creative and deceptive with his abilities and it’s even more noticeable on the power play when he has more room to operate. The word “fun” comes to mind when watching him play and that’s an easy sell for fans who first and foremost want to be entertained when they watch hockey.
Related: THW 2022 Draft Guide
For all of the good with the puck that Suzdalev brings to the table, his play away from the puck leaves a lot to be desired. While he’s able to box out his opponent at times due to his size and speed combination, his reads defensively are far from where they need to be if he is going to cut it in the NHL where only the most dominant high-end offensive talents can get away without being at the very least average on the defensive side of the puck.
Even when his team has the puck but it’s not on his stick, Suzdalev sometimes looks to be disengaged or almost listless in all three zones. This isn’t always the case, of course, but it’s certainly something that scouts will notice when evaluating him as a player who could make it to the next level one day.
If Suzdalev could round out his game, there’s first-round potential just from an offensive standpoint. Unfortunately, hockey is a 200-foot game that requires a lot of effort in all three zones and in all situations. Suzdalev is still young and has the ability to learn and adjust certain parts of his game to develop into a full-time NHL player; he just needs to be drafted to the right situation and be surrounded by the right mentors along the way.
Other THW Draft Profiles
Alexander Suzdalev – Draft Projection
Given Suzdalev’s combination of size and skill, he will likely be an attractive prospect for a lot of teams. Those attributes alone aren’t enough to make him a first-round pick, however, and he’ll need to work on his play away from the puck, both on offense and defense, to be a more surefire NHL prospect. As such, he’s likely to go somewhere in the second round, likely in the 50-60 range.
“Displays the stickhandling ability needed to make plays in tight spaces.. can use his good hands and reach to find his way through opponents” – Nick Richard, Dobber Prospects
- Finishing in the crease
Under Construction – Improvements to Make
- Engagement level away from the puck
- Defensive reads
- Defensive positioning
Offensively, Suzdalev has the ability to play in a top-six role in the NHL one day. As an all-around player, though, it’s more likely that he lands somewhere in the middle-six of a team should he find a way to round out his game. A second-line ceiling feels right for him if his development hits the right path.
Risk 4.5/5, Reward 4/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense 7.5/10, Defense 3/10
Suzdalev won a gold medal at the 2021-22 U18 World Junior Championships
Alexander Suzdalev Statistics
Brandon Share-Cohen has covered the NHL and various professional sports for seven years. Working with The Hockey Writers, Brandon works extensively on covering the Boston Bruins in addition to his role as the News Team Lead.