Vancouver Canucks 2017 NHL Draft Profile: C Nick Suzuki

Jun 26, 2015; Sunrise, FL, USA; Brock Boeser walks to the stage after being selected as the number twenty-three overall pick to the Vancouver Canucks in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 26, 2015; Sunrise, FL, USA; Brock Boeser walks to the stage after being selected as the number twenty-three overall pick to the Vancouver Canucks in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /

Vancouver Canucks fans have developed a consensus for the fifth-overall pick, but there are some options no one is expecting.

If the Vancouver Canucks want to target a player that seems like a reach at No. 5, they should try to trade down. Fair enough.

But if that doesn’t work out, because finding a trade partner for that kind of deal can be extremely difficult, they could end up drafting whom they like the most.

One prospect that could jump to fifth overall if the Canucks can’t trade down is the OHL Owen Sound Attack’s Nick Suzuki.

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Name: Nick Suzuki

Position: Center

Shoots: Right

Birthdate: 1999-08-10

Height, weight: 5’11”, 183 lbs

Team, league: Owen Sound Attack, OHL

Stats (from 







#26 by
#17 by ISS Hockey
#19 by Future Considerations
#28 by McKeen’s Hockey
#10 by NHL Central Scouting (NA Skaters)

Risk, Reward: 3/5, 4.5/5

NHL-potential: Top-six center

Draft Range: Top 20

Scouting report

"A no quit, full of energy centreman who adapts to new situations well and shows versatility…has impressive quickness in his feet and an enviable top speed…agile and shifty…deceptive with quick hands showing creativity and poise with the puck…has elite hockey IQ…able to slow the play down…possesses a surprisingly quick wrist shot that he uses to pick his targets…impressive playmaking ability and touch on his passes…great defensively and seems to constantly have the puck on his stick…has great body positioning and a solid frame to shield the puck, great with his stick in tight…pressures hard on the forecheck, consistently pressuring defensemen and keeping his feet moving leading to turnovers…gets back in a hurry on the backcheck…willingly gets himself into lanes and block opportunities…gets to the right positions to make a quick transition back to attack after the puck changes possession…he reads and adapts exceptionally well…just a potentially strong two-way contributor at the next level.  (Future Considerations, November 2016)"


Nick Suzuki might become one of the biggest risers of this draft. Originally deemed a B-prospect by NHL Central Scouting, he moved all the way up to finish the year as the 10th-ranked North American prospect. And despite being ranked as a late first-rounder by some scouting services, Suzuki has a chance to be a top-10 pick this year.

Suzuki is an incredibly smart player with elite hockey IQ. Thanks to his outstanding vision and passing ability, he is a dangerous playmaker who can set up scoring chances for his teammates multiple ways. He always knows where his teammates are without even looking, and makes those around him better by creating spaces and consistently giving them options.

Must Read: 5 Players Vancouver could reach for at 5th overall

A 45-goal scorer, Suzuki clearly knows how to get the puck in the net as well. His shot could be improved, but he certainly knows where to be on the ice to create danger. Suzuki possesses quick feet and quick, creative hands, allowing him to carry the puck through traffic and create danger right in front of the net. Defenders need to keep an eye on him at all times, or else they will have to pay the price.

What makes Suzuki a promising prospect is not only his offensive ability, though. Suzuki works extremely have an impact in all three zones. He plays a responsible 200-foot game and knows all his responsibilities in the defensive zone.


Perhaps his biggest issue is his size. Suzuki measures 5-foot-11, which is totally fine in today’s NHL, but definitely not great. Teams hope to get big impact centers like Leon Draisaitl or Sean Monahan with their early picks, especially when it comes to strong two-way players. With that, we can expect prospects like 6-foot-3 Gabriel Vilardi, 6-foot-2 Cody Glass and 6-foot-1 Casey Mittelstadt to be ahead of Suzuki on most if not all lists.

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Another thing scouts don’t love about Suzuki is his skating. He possesses quick feet and gets around very well, but is a little choppy and ineffective. However, this should be an easy fix with a power-skating coach that teaches Suzuki how to use his strides more effectively.

Lastly, Suzuki sometimes tries to do too much on his own. When you realize you can score more than 1.6 points per game — as Suzuki did in his final 50 games of the season — you might just try to score every time you touch the puck. That totally makes sense. Once he gets to the next level, however, Suzuki will have to learn to make quicker decisions and to use his teammates more.

Final Thoughts

Unless the Canucks trade down, the chances of them picking Suzuki are low, to say the least. However, it is far from impossible.

There is a whole lot to like about Suzuki, and he doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses that can’t be fixed. He won’t be a power-forward type in the NHL, but he doesn’t need to be. There are many 5-foot-11 players in the NHL today, and they can be highly effective as both offensive and defensive players.

We can be sure that not all fans would be overly happy if the Canucks ended up reaching for Suzuki at five. But if we look at it objectively, Suzuki’s chances of success are no worse than those of most higher-ranked centers.

Next: All 2017 NHL Draft Profiles

The Canucks have at least 10 players to pick from at No. 5, and Nick Suzuki is certainly one of them.