2016-17 Team: Owen Sound Attack (#37)
Date of Birth: August 10, 1999
Place of Birth: London, Ontario
Ht: 5’11” Wt: 183 lbs
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2017 first-year eligible
- THW Alternate Rankings: 31st (January)
- Future Considerations: 19th (Spring)
- ISS Hockey: 17th (April)
- Hockeyprospect.com: 26th (February)
- McKeen’s Hockey: 28th (February)
- Bob McKenzie: 27th (Mid-season)
- Craig Button: 10th (March)
Nick Suzuki knows success. From his time with ALLIANCE Hockey when he was their player of the year to his rookie season in Owen Sound when he scored 20 goals, Suzuki consistently performed. This is why many expected him to enjoy a breakout season in his draft year.
As expected, he did not disappoint. All Suzuki did was post 45 goals and 96 points in 65 regular-season games, while adding 8-15-23 in 17 playoff games. Despite these numbers, he wasn’t thought of much when the Central Scouting Midterm Rankings came out. He was a “B” prospect.
Sure he was a little undersized for someone playing center. But it was somewhat baffling to see him rated as a second or third-round prospect. Any question about Suzuki was answered during Owen Sound’s 33-2-3 finish to the season. When the games had more on the line, he delivered like a top prospect.
Even in defeat against the Erie Otters in the OHL’s Western Conference Finals, Suzuki showed well against a team with Memorial Cup aspirations. Every time he touched the puck, Suzuki could take over stretches of a game. He displayed a knack for reading plays and making the right decisions. He also demonstrated speed and skill needed to enjoy success in the NHL. The team who drafts Suzuki will be one of the winners of the first night of the draft.
NHL Draft Projection
Suzuki is a borderline lottery pick and might rise up even more than that to near the top-10. It’s easy to see why he’s rising. He’s a center. He’s fast. He’s smart. He’s not done growing. He was a major reason the Attack had their best season ever. He also has major upside at the next level. Expect to hear Suzuki’s name called between 10 and 20 on draft night.
“A smart offensive center that thinks the game at a fast pace and makes very good decisions on a consistent basis. Though he may not be the biggest player on the ice, Suzuki plays a thick, sturdy game and is hard to knock off the puck, especially when he has his feet moving. He’s an excellent skater that knows his own game well. Skilled with the puck and has a high level of hockey sense. This blend of talent and work ethic is hard to come by, invaluable in the long run.” –Elite Prospects
“One of the most likable players in this draft class because of his hustle and consistency. Dating back to last year, he’s been one of the most impressive 99’s in the OHL. Does everything for the Attack and projects as a very well rounded NHL player too. I think the scary thing about Suzuki though is that he’s still pretty physically immature. He’s one of the youngest players available in the draft, with room to grow in his puck protection ability and skating strength. Perhaps there’s even a late growth spurt in there too. With a strong performance in the OHL playoffs and/or the Under 18’s, Suzuki is a guy who I could see sneaking into the lottery.” – Brock Otten, OHL Prospects
“Suzuki is an undersized dynamic offensive player who uses his speed and playmaking ability to impact the game. While slightly undersized he is not shy to play physically and go to the net or dig for pucks in the corner. Suzuki thinks the game fast and has the hands and feet to match which makes him a projectable NHL player. Suzuki has a motor that won’t quit on plays and he is a reliable back checker as well making him an effective two-way player. Suzuki made a strong impression as a rookie year scoring 20 goals for the Owen Sound Attack and had a strong showing to start his draft year at the Ivan Hlinka Tournament for Canada with a goal and three points in four games, this season his offensive totals have exploded with 45 goals and 95 points. Despite being a short player, he is strong on the puck, has speed and skill to burn and is a smart player, he will play in a top six role in the NHL when he is ready.” – Peter Harling
- Hockey IQ
- Tireless worker
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
- Size and strength
- Puck protection
Suzuki projects as a top-six forward with the upside of a number-one center. He does need to fill out but that’s just a matter of time. He makes his linemates better thanks to the skill he brings. If you need a goal, he’ll get that for you. If you need dynamic playmaking, he can do that too. If you need a defensive stop, he’s good for that as well. His total package makes his floor very high.
Risk – 2/5, Reward – 4.5/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offence – 9.5/10, Defence – 7/10
Nick Suzuki was the ALLIANCE Hockey Player of the Year in 2014-15 as he scored the most goals and points in the league. He was also named to the first All-Rookie Team in 2015-16. He also won gold in the U17 WHC for Team Canada.