Does the captain have another gear?

Nick Suzuki led the team in goals, assists and points. But could he take it up another notch next year?
Detroit Red Wings vs Montreal Canadiens
Detroit Red Wings vs Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

Montreal Canadiens captain Nick Suzuki led the team on the ice and his offensive production paced the club.

Across the board, Suzuki reached career best, in goals with 33, assists with 44 and points with 77. He did so with a sophomore Juraj Slafkovsky on one wing. Then on the other, he had Cole Caufield who was coming off of a shoulder surgery.

The trio formed the Canadiens top line and alongside Suzuki, they were the best line for the Habs nearly every night. They played the lion's share of minutes at five-on-five and each time the opposition was penalized, their three forwards were the first on the ice. Relied on for the majority of the Habs offence, with minimal run support from lines two through four, Suzuki's line was brilliant.

Caufield's 28 goals were a positive for the winger, but we all know he is capable of much more. He proved time and time again, that he is one of the league's premiere snipers and this season, he didn't look so threatening. His two-way game improved in leaps and bounds, but the shooting luck didn't follow suit.

Slafkovsky, meanwhile, took his game to a level that we believed should be reachable for a first-overall pick but hadn't expected to see from him so soon. The Slovakian phenom scored 20 goals and 30 assists, both career-highs and his awareness on the ice went to new heights. With the experience earned this year, with some added strength and knowing how to use his body, Slafkovsky could post new highs next season.

With all of that said Suzuki will undoubtedly benefit from more opportunities, from either silky smooth passes. Or he will find more chances around the net because his linemates warrant so much attention from the opposition. Suzuki proved that he could shoot the puck very well and his playmaking was always known, but even though opponents knew what he could do, they couldn't stop him.

Suzuki wowed with his one-on-one puck skills and his quick dashes to get open or find open passing seams out of nowhere. He made goalies look silly in the shootout and point-blank with his quick release. Where he stood out most is in his ability to play a responsible, 200-foot game, never harming the team taking his younger linemates under his wing and forming a strong top line for the Habs.

It's easy to forget that Suzuki is still so young, but at 24 years old, Suzuki has led the 24-time Stanley Cup-winning Montreal Canadiens with the maturity of a grizzled veteran. It's remarkable the consistency that he plays with and his ability to stay healthy, has allowed him to maintain a great development path. There have been so many comparisons for who he resembles, Patrice Bergeron Alex Barkov and Anze Kopitar, and they are for sure flattering, but becoming the best version of Nick Suzuki is what will most benefit the Habs.

Because of the growth that the first line will undergo and the fact that Kent Hughes and Jeff Gorton will look to beef up the goal scoring output next season, it should free up the top line and give them more room to work.