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HOUSEOFHOCKEY  /  NHL  /  NEWS

Suzuki - A Steal of a Deal

Published November 13, 2021 at 10:50
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As a Toronto Maple Leafs fan it pains me to admit this, but the Montreal Canadiens and Marc Bergevin signed Nick Suzuki to what is going to be one of the best contract in the league and it won't be particularly close. In typical Elliotte Friedman fashion he announced that Suzuki was nearing an extension with the Canadiens before following that up with the announcement that the deal was a max term 8-year deal with an AAV of $7,875,000 per season.



Suzuki, who just turned 22 in August is projected to be the Canadiens' 1st line center for this season and he is expected to take a significant step forward in his development.


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Over his two year career Suzuki has already scored 82 points in 127 games both in COVID shortened seasons. Last season Suzuki was on pace for 60 points over an 82 game season and seems poised to take that next step. When you sit back and take a look at Suzuki's performance up to this point there will be those who will be concerned about Suzuki's offensive output, but I don't think that's anything to worry about and I'll tell you why.

When I look at Nick Suzuki the best comparable I can see is Patrice Bergeron. I know that's a lofty comparison, but hear me out. When Bergeron began his career he often found himself playing with some good players, but never any great players. In 2008-2009 Bergeron spent most of his time playing with PJ Axelsson and Chuck Kobasew, who by no means would be considered stars by any stretch. During this time Bergeron's offensive numbers dipped as you'd expect and it wasn't until he found his true linemates in David Pastrňák and Brad Marchand that he finally formed The Perfection Line.

Now let's take a look at Nick Suzuki and what his linemates have looked like over his career.

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In his first season to say that Suzuki spent most of his season in a blender might be an understatement. When it came to playing the game at even strength, Suzuki spent only 18.17% of the time playing with his most common linemates (Max Domi & Artturi Lehkonen) compared to Bergeron who played 80.24% of the time with Pasta and Marchand. Despite playing with so many different line combinations Suzuki was still able to be a positive possession player. Suzuki was able to generate 1171 chances for while only giving up 893 chances against, which for a rookie is an extremely impressive performance.

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Now last season Suzuki's linemates received a significant bump as he spent 29.5% of the season with Jonathan Drouin and Josh Anderson, two very respectable NHLers, but neither should be considered top line talent like Suzuki. As a line they were able to generate 53 more chances than they gave up. Almost even more impressively Suzuki was a positive possession player with every line he played a minimum of 45 minutes of time with.

The key to the development of Nick Suzuki will be the Canadiens finding top line talent for him to play with because as of now he doesn't have the top line teammates he needs to take his game to the next level. With the struggles of Caufield and the entire Habs team finding elite talent to play with their elite center will be one of the most important parts of the Habs long-term success.

Suzuki had a difficult start to the season like every other Canadien also had, but he's shown his level of perseverance as he's added 13 points in his last 9 games, including 4 goals, 2 of which were game winners.

It's becoming very clear the talent Nick Suzuki possesses and the player he's set to become. Now we just need to hope the Canadiens surround him with the high level linemates he so desperately needs and deserves.
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