2015-16 Team: ZSC Lions (#44)
Date of birth: 5/24/1996
Place of birth: Wallisellen, Switzerland
Ht: 5’11 Wt: 176
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2016 3rd year eligible
- Central Scouting EU skaters: 39
In the Shadow of Auston Matthews
Pius Suter is playing an exceptional season with the ZSC Lions in Switzerland, having collected 24 points in his first season of professional hockey. His 24 points have him ranked as the eighth best scorer of the team. However, he has not been getting the attention he would actually deserve. Of course, all eyes are on Auston Matthews instead. Suter could still benefit from the arrival of Matthews though, as Matthews attracts a lot scouting visits from NHL organization. Suter has collected the second most votes for the league’s “newcomer of the year” award behind Matthews. The former Guelph Storm re-enters the draft this summer after remaining undrafted the previous two times.
Suter is an extremely smart and hard working player who likes to compete and uses his hockey smarts to win puck battles. Although he is smallish in size, he is not afraid to compete against bigger opponents, so this should not hinder teams from drafting him. He brings a good compete level to the ice and plays an effective two-way game. He back-checks well and is aware of his defensive tasks. Does not lay out big hits or play with a physical edge, but uses an active stick to be in passing lanes and shows determination in puck battles. He is also an effective fore-checker while using that active stick work to create turnovers.
Suter is extremely dangerous when playing shorthanded, where he plays big minutes under ZSC coach Marc Crawford. He uses his strong hockey smarts to read plays and anticipates passes to create turnovers. He has scored on several shorthanded breakaways this season using his instincts, stick work and transition game. Suter is making smart decisions with and without the puck and is not committing a lot of mistakes. I have barely seen him admitting turnovers as he carries the puck carefully. He is excellent in receiving a pass as he has his stick constantly on the ice for the best possible puck control.
His excellent work ethic and understanding of the game make up for his smallish size and lack of physical play. He doesn’t take a shift off and NHL organizations should definitely keep an eye on him in the coming summer.
NHL Draft Projection:
Although Suter had a strong last season with Guelph, he remained undrafted, probably because of his size. However, he definitely proved this season that he can play among men and against bigger opponents. Furthermore, he could benefit from the many scouts in the stands because of Matthews. I would really be surprised if he goes undrafted again this summer and expect him to be selected somewhere near the fourth or fifth round.
He is a highly competitive and driven player who is known for his maturity, work ethic and goal scoring prowess. His size is not a factor considering his drive and determination, he never gives up on a play and is quite willing to battle against bigger players.
-Peter Harling, mckeenshockey.com
Offensive center that plays a sound all-around game. Never gives up on the play and possesses a versatile set of individual skills. Has a goal scorer’s mindset, but is dependable at both ends of the ice; can contribute in a number of different ways. Though he isn’t the biggest player, that is nullified due to his willingness to battle against bigger players.
-Curtis Joe, eliteprospects.com
Understanding of the game
Under Construction (Improvements to Make):
Suter has the potential to become a smart two-way player who uses his hockey smarts, good decision-making and willingness to battle. His high compete level and determination make his size forgotten and complete his 360-degree profile.
NHL comparison: Frans Nielsen
Risk: 3/5 Reward: 3/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential:
Offensive = 5/10 Defensive = 6/10
2013/2014: OHL Champion
2015/2016: Swiss Cup Winner
Shots From the Slot:
Suter was drafted by the Guelph Storm back in 2013 in the first round of the CHL Import Draft. He spent two seasons with Guelph where he was OHL Champion with the team in 2014. Suter improved his language skills over the course of his Canada stay and emerged into a more offensive role in his second year with the Storm. He has scored 43 goals in that year, which was the sixth best mark in the league. Suter played on the same team with Detroit Red Wings prospect Tyler Bertuzzi and St. Louis Blues Robby Fabbri.
— IIHF (@IIHFHockey) January 3, 2016
THW’s The Next Ones prospect profile template design architect: Chris Ralph