Grading Captain Nick Suzuki's season

Nick Suzuki set career highs across the board while mentoring Juraj Slafkovsky and aiding Cole Caufield in multi-dimensionalising his game.
Detroit Red Wings vs Montreal Canadiens
Detroit Red Wings vs Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

Maturity, cool demeanour and so much skill - sound familiar, those are just a few of the qualities that Montreal Canadiens captain Nick Suzuki possesses.

Trades don't often make or break a team, but the trade that brought Suzuki to Montreal from the Vegas Golden Knights is a substantial one. Max Pacioretty, the former captain, ironically went to Vegas and Suzuki was reportedly not who former general manager Marc Bergevin requested. That's all the past, though, the Canadiens got the guy they needed and the franchise is better for it.

Suzuki hasn't missed a game in the past three seasons and he just keeps growing and improving. The two-way play is a staple of Suzuki's game and has become second nature. But this past season, he elevated his play to another level, establishing himself as a pure shooter.

I don't think that he has reached his full potential yet, there may even be 100-point potential in him. Time will tell and many things need to happen, but with the team ever improving and new players coming in, it's not out of the question. Yet to reach point-per-game status, I think he may do it next season, especially if Cole Caufield and Juraj Slafkovsky stay healthy all year.

Being named the captain is a massive responsibility, especially for an Original Six franchise. But the way that the 25-year-old has handled himself is exactly why he was chosen. Much like a starting goaltender, being the number one centre and captain for a franchise is a lot to shoulder - it takes a special kind of person.

There have been plenty of question marks about whether Suzuki is a true number one centre or not. Even after growing exponentially all around over the last few seasons, some won't admit that he is. I'm not sure what else he needs to do to prove that he is that guy.

77 points in 82 games, while playing the majority of his minutes against the opposition's top players is no easy feat. He also centred the top power play every night and was a constant on the penalty kill. His season wasn't perfect, I'm not sure there is such a thing in the NHL, but anything less than an A wouldn't be reasonable.