Washington Capitals forward prospect Alexander Suzdalev has signed with the Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League (WHL). Suzdalev spent last season with HV71 junior 20 team in Sweden and was keeping busy, working out with the Sweden’s 2023 World Junior team during a recent camp in Enköping.
“He’s a highly skilled guy who moves around the ice pretty good,” Pats head coach and general manager John Paddock said in a media release. “Anytime we can improve our talent — upgrade it — it’s a real plus and that’s the case with this.”
The Pats selected Suzdalev, 18, in the second round of the CHL’s 2021 import draft. Last season, he played for HV71 in Sweden’s junior ranks, registering 15 goals and a team-high 51 points in 45 games. He was 10th in the league in scoring.
The Capitals selected Suzdalev in the third-round (70th overall) of the 2022 NHL Draft. The Capitals acquired the pick as part of the trade that sent goaltender Vitek Vanecek to the New Jersey Devils on second day of the draft.
The Capitals announced on July 15, the last day of the team’s development camp, that they had signed Suzdalev to a three-year deal. Suzdalev will earn $775,000 in each of the first two seasons of the deal and $800,000 (NHL) in the third and $82,500 in the AHL.
“I started playing hockey in Krasnoyarsk, Russia, and [former Capitals right wing] Alexander Semin was from there, so I like to watch him when I was younger, and of course Alex Ovechkin. I think it’s [comparing his wrist shot to Semin’s] pretty good, could be better, but I’m working on it every day in summer.”
Suzdalev participated in the Caps’ 2022 Prospect Development Camp, the first conducted by the team since 2019. It provided the 6’2″, 176 lb forward with a chance to showcase his game.
“Just really exciting, got some chills on my skin. Really happy and really proud, a great organization. I was a Caps fan when I was younger, so loved Alex Ovechkin…I would say I’m an offensively-skilled player, likes to be creative, and make scoring chances…I think it’s been great, smaller rink here and really good for me, and develop my game…getting ready to play in NHL, so really good.”
By Jon Sorensen