We’re rolling right on through these prospect lists, and finally we’re arriving at some players projected to go around the time the Flyers are picking. We already have a whole bunch of centers in the pipeline, but hey, what’s one more? Maybe you like Ryan Suzuki’s skill set. Let’s talk about him.
BSH 2019 Draft Profile: Ryan Suzuki
Position / Team: C / Barrie Colts
2018-19 Statistics: 25 G, 50 A in 65 GP
Size: 6’0”, 181
No. 18 (North American skaters) by NHL Central Scouting
No. 14 by Future Considerations
No. 21 by ISS Hockey
No. 15 by Pronman/The Athletic
What’s there to like?
There’s a lot to like about Suzuki’s game. Scouts have praised his hockey sense and his aptitude for knowing where scoring chances are going to form and then putting himself there (he also has some very good vision of the ice to thank for helping out with that as well).
Suzuki’s real impact comes in his playmaking abilities—he has the patience to not force plays when the timing isn’t perfect, but can wait just that split second longer and not panic under pressure, and make the right play when it’s time. His passing is strong, particularly through tight seams, and his speed is an added threat—he’s a plus skater who’s able to create a good bit of separation for himself to create plays in transition. And not to be lost in all of this is that Suzuki does also have the hands to not only just set up chances for his teammates, but to finish them on his own. He has a good shot, and the ability to convert on chances in close.
What’s not to like?
There really isn’t anything terribly major in terms of concerns about Suzuki’s game, but maybe these things matter to you. It depends on your predispositions. Anyway.
181 pounds is a little slight for a player six feet tall. Not terribly, but he could stand to put on a little weight before he cracks the NHL. It’s not a big ask, he’s only 18 now, but it’s something that could use addressing.
Also, scouts have noted that Suzuki doesn’t play a terribly physical game. And while this isn’t necessarily a bad thing in and of itself, it is an open question how he would handle a situation at the pro level where opponents are setting the tone and trying to draw him into a more physical style or situation.
How would he fit in the Flyers’ system?
This is an interesting question, because the Flyers do have a lot of centers in their prospect pool, and there are obviously only so many roster spots for them. Suzuki, if he wanted to stick with this organization and make the NHL as a center, would have a good number of older prospects and established NHLers to jump to earn that role. It’s not out of the question, but he would have his work cut out for him.
That said, we know that teams don’t and shouldn’t draft for need, and if the Flyers decide that Suzuki is the best player on the board when it’s their turn, they should pull the trigger. You don’t think about how many centers you already have, you just take the best player available and find a way to make it work.
Could the Flyers actually get him?
It looks like there’s a good chance that Suzuki will still be on the board when the Flyers pick at 11, if the picks more or less follow the order that the groups in the intro are projecting. So he may well be available at 11, the question will just be if he’s the best player available at that time. If he is, he’s a fine player, but there may well be someone a little better available. We’ll just have to see.