The Carolina Hurricanes stole Ryan Suzuki in the first round of the 2019 NHL Draft. What should intrigue the Hurricanes brass as much as his on-ice talent, is his established chemistry with last year’s number one pick.
The Carolina Hurricanes selected former Barrie Colt and OHL Number one pick Ryan Suzuki in this year’s entry draft. Have we mentioned what a steal that was? This, however, is not the first Barrie Colt standout turned Carolina Hurricanes prospect; last year saw the luck of the draw win Carolina that year’s best forward prospect, and accomplished Barrie Alumni.
Andrei Svechnikov was the selection last year, as Carolina jumped from late lottery to second overall pick. It was a draft that many viewed as franchise altering. Svech, as he’s come to be known by many Caniac’s, has a skill set that is rare and heavily valued in today’s NHL. He is as pure a goal scorer as they come, he drives hard to the net, and has the physical makeup to be successful in doing so.
His first season as a Hurricane saw him put up a very solid 20 goals; all while the 18-year-old prospect was playing meaningful shifts on a playoff bound team. His impact was noted from the start of the season. There was no learning curve, Svech was NHL-ready, and his 20 goals where more than the likes of NHL veteran Jordan Eberle and one of the games best young players, Mathew Barzal.
Svechnikov is a vital piece to the future of the Hurricanes organization, but so is Suzuki. Ryan Suzuki is an 18-year-old who just completed a 75-point season in Barrie. He was heralded for his hockey instincts and playmaking ability; but was also criticized for his lack of physicality. This is where the Hurricanes may have struck gold.
Svech and Suzuki have played on the same line before, and they have shared success. Svechnikov’s 40 goals in 44 games came playing alongside the London, Ontario native. It isn’t simply their history that makes these two ideal linemates, but how well their strengths complement one another.
In Svechnikov, you get a gritty and skilled forward who can score goals; a lot of goals. He wants to drive to the net, he wants to establish net front presence, and he knows how to get to the spots on the ice that are conducive to success.
In Suzuki, you have the perfect counterbalance. Suzuki is a perimeter player. he isn’t going to fight for net front position, and he isn’t going to drive to the net on every play; but he is going to find the open man, he’s going to use his incredible speed and skill to create something out of nothing.
In these two players, you have the kind of Center-Wing combination that you can build a team around. Svech wreaking havoc with his big frame and excellent skating ability, and Suzuki with his top-tier hands, and the kind of hockey IQ that can capitalize on any opening.
Think of the great duos that have graced NHL ice? Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, Paul Kariya and Teemu Selanna, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. All of these combinations have balancing skill sets that accentuates the other’s talents, but they also have chemistry. Having that built-in chemistry, a proven collaboration that saw both players become first round draft picks, is the essential piece.
Factor into this potential duo the need for scoring on a defense heavy Hurricanes lineup, and Suzuki’s talent should allow his trip to the NHL to be quicker than most late first-round picks. There is room for his skill set; a couple years of physical development should allow Suzuki’s place in the lineup to eventually open up.
This pair of forwards should excite Hurricanes fans. Considering also the plethora of talent that Carolina has in its system, the line combinations could be endless. A line of Andrei Svechnikov, Ryan Suzuki, and Martin Necas could eventually be, not only a premiere offensive lineup for Carolina to employ, but a top line in the NHL.
Necas is an excellent all around hockey player, can play a physical style, and routinely makes the smart play utilizing his speed and skill. Add these skills to what Suzuki and Svech already possess and time could take these three prospects to Hurricanes stardom.
This all starts with the Suk and Svech connection. With the right development and system from head coach Rod Brind’Amour and these two men could put on a show for the hockey world in Raleigh for the next decade.
Question for CC readers: Could Ryan Suzuki, Andrei Svechnikov, and Martin Necas, all become eventual NHL All-Stars?