Carolina Hurricanes Prospect Ryan Suzuki has had some adversity since being drafted in the first round. A new OHL team may have had rekindled his Talent.
Carolina Hurricanes prospect Ryan Suzuki felt like a steal when he dropped to 28th overall in the 2019 NHL entry Draft. Since then it has almost felt like a high risk, high reward gamble when the 18 year old took a terrifying eye injury that saw him miss about two months worth of hockey with the Barrie Colts, about half the OHL season so far.
Without their star player, the Colts took a tumble in the standings dropping all the way down to eighth out of ten in the conference and practically out of the playoff picture, barely an improvement from the previous season where they dropped to ninth, failing to adjust for the loss of Andrei Svechnikov.
Ryan Suzuki still managed to post good numbers with the Colts in the 21 games he did play with the team both before and after his injury scoring 5 goals and 18 assists for 23 points. A week ago however the colts were forced to make a tough decision and traded Suzuki to a different conference team, the Saginaw Spirit, for two other players and six draft picks. Not a bad return for NHL talent.
Since joining the Spirit, Suzuki has been a force of nature. His first three games saw him post SEVEN points. He added on another three points in the next two games giving him ten points in five games and a solid two points per game pace. While it took him 21 games to hit five goals with the Colts, it has only taken him five to get to four goals in Saginaw.
While those ten points, split across four goals and six assists, are the most obvious improvement with the new team, especially considering his hattrick only days ago. However he has also gone from a minus nine with Barrie, to a plus eight with the Spirit.
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That goes to show that the level of talent he is playing with is better on both ends of the ice and he has been given the opportunity to shine a little more on the ice thanks to getting time with other NHL draft picks Blade Jenkins, Damien Giroux, and Cole Coskey who can help match his speed, skill, vision, and since to get results. Even then Suzuki may still be playing alongside those a step behind him.
Adding Suzuki to their mix has been a godsend for the Spirit who have gone 4-1-0 with the loss being their most recent game. But even in that loss Suzuki found a way to tack on a point which helped him get to a 150 OHL point milestone in his hockey career. The addition of Suzuki has many considering the Spirit favorites to win the J. Ross Robertson Cup, the OHL’s championship prize.
Playing on a team with much more offensive push might also help him improve his ability to play a little better in the defensive zone with less pressure being put on him there, giving him the confidence he needs to make better judgement calls at his pace.
The confidence he is building offensively may also help him be a little more aggressive and assertive, something he is lacking of, perhaps due to the lack of physical strength. This leads to the only real criticism for Suzuki, he is getting owned at the faceoff circle.
Luckily for the Carolina Hurricanes Strength and Faceoffs are the two things Rod Brind’amour and his staff can coach into players the best. It is really only a matter of time before we see Suzuki here in Carolina, considering he is already signed to a three year entry level deal. The last week or so of his play has reinspired hope that he can add more good skill and talent to the team.
The only real remaining question left to answer is just how soon can we see him in PNC Arena for a regulation game?