Canadiens Appear to Have Finally Found a True First-Line Centre: After Years of Waiting the Core Piece of the Team is in Place

Aaron Itovitch
December 26, 2023  (7:57)

Photo credit: Montreal Gazette

The Montreal Canadiens have been rolling along nicely for a few weeks now, as the team continues to surprise with interesting performances game after game.

After 33 games, the club has an unexpected record of 15-13-5. Few people could have predicted that Martin St-Louis's team would play above 0.500 after the season's shot, and a playoff run is a very realistic goal at the moment.
Several players are standing out with the Canadiens, but one who is seriously flying under the radar is Nick Suzuki's level of play.
The captain has accumulated four goals and 12 points in his last ten starts, and he totals 10 goals and 30 points in 33 games. At such a pace, he would finish the year with 25 goals and 75 points, so very close to a point-per-game production.
However, in addition to his ability to score points, the play of number 14 does not stop there. He plays night after night against the best opposing trios and has many important responsibilities, including on the penalty kill.
In the eyes of many observers, a record of more than 80 points per season normally equates to the performance of a player considered elite in the NHL. Yet, Suzuki is very close to reaching this plateau at 24 years old, but his offensive production is not the only tool in his arsenal.
Unlike many stars who are defined by their point record, Suzuki is also a complete center player. With such offensive production, the question arises: has the Canadiens finally found their elite center player?
If consistency becomes a virtue for Suzuki, who tends to fade a few games only to come back stronger, I believe there is an underestimated potential in what he could become with a more stable and complete lineup.
Since Juraj Slafkovsky was paired with him and Cole Caufield, the Canadiens seem to finally have a true and very solid first trio. Good partners will greatly contribute to him reaching the highest possible peaks in terms of offense and I believe we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg with him right now.
If he finishes the season with a record of 75 points and matches or exceeds this performance for a few years, Suzuki's name will certainly have to be placed among the elite of the National League.
Canadiens Appear to Have Finally Found a True First-Line Centre: After Years of Waiting the Core Piece of the Team is in Place

Do you think Nick Suzuki is a top-32 centre in the league?

Yes41781.9 %
No9218.1 %
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