Can Ryan Suzuki Best His Brother?

Ryan Suzuki of the Barrie Colts is a sensational playmaker who plays a strong and calculated game. Long motivated by his older brother, Nick, could Ryan surpass his sibling as an NHL prospect?

As the first-overall choice in the 2017 OHL Priority Selection, attention tends to follow Ryan Suzuki regardless of where he plays.

A former standout with the London Jr. Knights, Suzuki enjoyed a solid rookie season with the Barrie Colts in 2017-18 — scoring 14 goals and adding 30 assists for a total of 44 points. Although he didn’t claim any notable individual awards, Suzuki’s campaign proved to be a promising one considering the depth of the Colts’ roster and his incredible composure with the puck.

Ryan Suzuki
Precise skating and calculated decision making proved crucial to Suzuki’s rookie OHL campaign. (Photo Credit: Miranda Zilkowsky Photography)

Extremely calculative while in possession and rarely pressured into making mistakes, Suzuki’s seemingly veteran style of play mixed with his lethal offensive upside immediately garnered comparisons to another current OHL-star — the youngster’s brother and Owen Sound Attack sniper Nick Suzuki.

Although they do boast their differences, both Suzuki and his older brother are remarkably similar players. Of average height and weight, the brothers are endlessly intelligent and creative on the ice — an ability which drives both players’ offensive games.

However, given their similarities, this begs one ultimate question: can the younger Suzuki become a more talented and promising player than his older brother?

The Surging Suzuki Sibling Rivalry

Although they are family, there is no question that the Suzuki brothers are incredibly competitive and strive to out-duel one another.

On one hand, there is the oldest Suzuki.

As a first-round choice of the Vegas Golden Knights in the 2017 NHL Draft, Nick seemingly holds the distinct advantage in the sibling rivalry. Although Ryan is slated to be selected in the coming 2019 NHL Draft, Nick boasts the bragging rights — and will continue to do so if Ryan fails to hear his name called earlier than Nick did at 13th overall.

What’s more is that the elder Suzuki has two dynamite OHL seasons in-hand. In 2016-17, Suzuki potted a whopping 45 goals and 96 points for the Attack before adding another 42 goals and 100 points for Owen Sound last season. Further, Suzuki owns two William Hanley Trophies as the OHL’s Most Sportsmanlike Player — he’s collected just 32 penalty minutes thus far in his 192-game career.

Then, on the other hand, we have the younger of the two brothers.

Although he only has one OHL season under his belt, Ryan’s inaugural campaign was incredibly impressive and one which cemented the native of London, Ontario as a potential top-10 pick in the 2019 NHL Draft.

Despite drawing less ice time than he arguably would have garnered with different franchises throughout the OHL, the younger Suzuki made the most of his playing time as a rookie and was able to leave a lasting impression. As an immensely intelligent player, Suzuki’s playmaking abilities were regularly on full display — his willingness to saucer passes through traffic with success was a treat to watch.

Further, Suzuki established himself as a prospect who refuses to buckle under pressure. Routinely utilized on Barrie’s power-play and in high-pressure situations, Suzuki’s patience and willingness to wait for high-percentage scoring chances to develop helped to drive the Colts’ man-advantage — Barrie concluded the 2017-18 regular season with the OHL’s sixth-best power-play.

So, although he doesn’t hold any hardware, Suzuki is evidently well on his way to becoming as good as — if not better than — his older brother. Sure, he needs to strengthen his frame and improve his shot — two weaknesses which will improve with physical maturity — however, the fact remains that Suzuki is staring down a lucrative career at the NHL-level.

And, although he and his brother play in opposite OHL Conferences, the personal drive to improve shared by the two on a nightly basis is endlessly inspiring


NHL Prospect Profile: Ryan Suzuki

Ryan Suzuki is one of the smartest players available for the 2019 NHL Draft, combining tremendous skating and playmaking abilities to rack up points and likely become a top-15 pick at next year’s draft.

– Ryan Suzuki –

Barrie Colts (OHL) | Center | 2019 NHL Draft Eligible

London, Ontario, Canada | May 28, 2001 | 6-foot, 172-pounds

Ryan Suzuki, brother of Golden Knights’ prospect, Nick, was the 1st overall selection at the 2017 OHL Priority Selection. A natural playmaker, Ryan has incredible hockey sense, dubbed one of the smartest OHL prospects in recent years by Elite Prospects. He racked up 14 goals and 44 points in 64 games with the Colts last year.

Suzuki skates effortlessly and can beat defenders to the outside with impressive top speeds. He has performed admirably in international competition for Team Canada, including the IIHF U17 Championships and the recent Hlinka Gretzky Cup, quickly rising to be an on-ice leader for both teams.


  • Hockey Sense
  • Skating
  • Playmaking

Suzuki is an incredibly smart individual, on and off the ice. He seems to see the game one step ahead of everyone else, utilizing his innate instincts to find open space. Suzuki uses this ability when in possession of the puck as well, slowing the game down to find minuscule passing lanes which create scoring chances for his teammates.

Ryan Suzuki effectively utilized his hockey sense and innate vision to quickly become  one of the Colts’ top playmakers during his rookie year. Expect a breakout year in ’18-19 as he gets first-line minutes. Photo Credit – Miranda Zilkowsky Photography

A smooth skater, Suzuki accelerates quickly and maintains incredible agility at top speeds while controlling the puck with ease. He has surprising lower-body strength and can employ it to protect the puck against larger opponents. Suzuki also has astonishingly silky hands and the creativity to turn defenders inside out regularly.


  • Consistent Scoring Ability

While Suzuki has shown flashes of dynamic scoring abilities, he has yet to consistently use his underrated shot at the OHL level. On a strong Barrie team last year, Suzuki tended to resort to feeding his teammates more often than using his own shot. If he wants to rise up the draft rankings in 2019, Suzuki will need to find ways to use his shot more consistently.

With many of the Colts’ top centermen moving on from last year, Suzuki is sure to see top-line minutes each night in 2018-19. As such, he must use his strong wrist shot to earn the respect of his opponents. If he can prove to be both a dangerous sniper and playmaker, then watch for his goal and point totals to increase exponentially this season.

Future Potential:

Ryan Suzuki projects to be a top-six center at the NHL level. He plays a complete 200-foot game and has the hockey sense and skating abilities to thrive in today’s league as an elite playmaker.  Comparables include Claude Giroux and Mathew Barzal. Heading into the ’18-19 season, Suzuki projects to be a Top-15 pick at the 2019 NHL Draft.