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“Nick Suzuki is on his way to becoming a great defensive forward,” according to Ryan O’Reilly
Credit: Capture d'écran / Screenshot

This season, Nick Suzuki is playing like a guy who’s really on a mission. Prior to today’s game, Suzuki had scored 59 points in 61 games for a team that isn’t exactly an NHL powerhouse.

He’s spent most of the year alongside two good trio-mates in Cole Caufield and Juraj Slafkovský, but even so, he’s not exactly the most consistent. And as much as I love Jake Evans, he’s not exactly the second center who keeps other teams at bay and can give his first center a bit of a break.

That said, in addition to the points, there’s also been a lot of talk about the Montreal captain’s defensive game. At the beginning of January, The Athletic put him right at the top of the race for the Selke Trophy.

Two months on, Suzuki probably won’t win it… but that doesn’t stop other players from giving him a lot of love.

And that’s exactly what Ryan O’Reilly did earlier today, insisting that Suzuki is “extremely smart defensively” and a player he loves to watch in action.

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However, that didn’t stop O’Reilly from going even further: according to him, Suzuki has everything it takes to become one of the NHL’s best defensive forwards.

He even went so far as to say that he’s right up there with the likes of Patrice Bergeron, Anze Kopitar and Henrik Zetterberg.

It’s not the first time we’ve heard such comparisons (especially from Patrice Bergeron), but it’s high praise for the Habs captain to hear it from a forward who is also one of the good defensive forwards in recent NHL history.

Remember that the Predators forward won the Selke Trophy in 2019, while playing for the Blues.

If Suzuki can become a forward of this caliber defensively, it would really help the Habs, who don’t really have an elite-caliber forward defensively(except maybe Joel Armia, some would say).

And if this defensive forward can score a point a game as well, I think we can finally talk about a true first center, don’t you?

In bursts

– Well done.

– News from Max Pacioretty.

Maybe we’re still missing a David Savard

– 1000 NHL games for James van Riemsdyk.

– Interesting.

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