NHL Mock Draft 2019: No.19 — Ryan Suzuki

Updated: June 19, 2019 at 2:16 pm by Brock Seguin

The Ottawa Senators lost what turned out to be the No.4 overall pick in this year’s draft when they acquired Matt Duchene from the Colorado Avalanche. However, they salvaged things a bit when they acquired this pick (No.19 overall) from the Columbus Blue Jackets, sending Duchene to Ohio.

While they won’t have the option of adding a premier centre like Dylan Cozens, Kirby Dach or Trevor Zegras, there should still be plenty of forward options at the board in the mid-to-late first round.

Ottawa has some tough years ahead but they actually possess a pretty deep prospect pool which should help accelerate the rebuild to some degree. Erik Brannstrom, who they acquired in the Mark Stone trade, is their only elite prospect but they have a handful of very good prospects behind him.

  • Drake Batherson (No.121 Pick in 2017): Batherson looks like one of the biggest steals from 2017. After starting the year in Ottawa, Batherson was sent to Belleville, where he led the team with 62 points (22G / 40A in 59 games. He is clearly their top wing prospect and will almost certainly be in a Senators uniform next season.
  • Logan Brown (No.11 Pick in 2016): Brown also graduated to pro hockey last season but didn’t quite rack up the points that Batherson did: Brown was third on Belleville in points with 42 (14G / 28A) in 56 games. The 21-year-old is a giant centre (6-foot-6, 220 lbs.) who is an excellent passer but seems to have limited goal-scoring upside.
  • Josh Norris (No.19 Pick in 2017): Norris was a part of the package that Ottawa got back for Erik Karlsson. The 20-year-old centre had his season cut short at the University of Michigan after getting hurt in the U20 World Juniors. At the time, Norris had six points (3G / 3A) in seven games for Team USA and was over a point-per-game (19 points in 17 games) at Michigan. He has the look of a player who could step in as Ottawa’s No.2 centre in a couple of seasons.
  • Filip Chlapik (No.48 Pick in 2015): Chlapik has the full complement of tools and is able to play up and down the lineup. The 22-year-old had 34 points (16G / 18A) in 57 AHL games this season and was able to replace Brown as Belleville’s top centre while he was hurt. It’s hard to see him being more than a No.2 or even No.3 centre in the NHL, but he’s a player who can add some offensive flair to Ottawa’s bottom-6.
  • Vitaly Abramov (No.65 Pick in 2016): Abramov came from Columbus with this pick in the Duchene trade. Abramov had an insane QMJHL career, posting 301 points (129G / 172A) in 185 games across three seasons. However, he has yet to do much of anything in the AHL (33 points in 74 games), so it’s hard to pinpoint exactly how good he’s going to be at the NHL-level. Regardless, he’s a future NHLer and an important piece of Ottawa’s future. 

With the No.19 Overall Pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, the Ottawa Senators select…

Ryan Suzuki — C — Canada 🇨🇦

While centre is clearly the strength of the Senators prospect pool, GM Pierre Dorion will have a difficult time passing on one of the smartest players in the draft class. Ryan is the brother of Nick Suzuki, who was selected No.13 overall in 2017 and traded to the Montreal Canadiens as a part of the Max Pacioretty trade with the Vegas Golden Knights. Ryan was the assistant captain for a bad Barrie Colts (OHL) team and led the team with 75 points (25G / 50A) in 65 games. It’s easy to get caught up in the fact he was tied for 33 in league scoring, but he was doing it with one of the weaker surrounding casts in the OHL.

Centre might not be a huge need for Ottawa but they also have the first pick in the second-round and could easily add a defenseman with that pick and hope that Suzuki blossoms into a first-line centre in the future. Suzuki has an extremely high hockey IQ and puts himself into the right spots on every shift. He possesses great speed and combines with excellent vision and high-end playmaking ability. There have been questions about his consistency and that’s likely why he will fall close to the 20’s, but his skill level is undeniable.  Defensemen Thomas Harley and Moritz Seider will be intriguing for Ottawa but Suzuki feels like a can’t miss pick and the Senators need some of those right now.

Scouting Report

Suzuki is one of the smartest OHL prospects we have seen in years. He is a good skater, excellent passer and is very good at putting himself in scoring positions, where he rarely fails to capitalize. He does not play overly physical, but is very good at avoiding contact while doing so. He has excellent hands and all around vision. — Tyler Parchem (Elite Prospects)

Thinks the game two steps ahead, but needs to get inside the dots more regularly. — Sam Cosentino (Sportsnet)