He’s tried a number of times this season, all to no avail. Finally, on Friday night, Washington Capitals forward prospect Alexander Suzdalev accomplished the task. He scored his first “Michigan” goal in Western Hockey League (WHL) action.
The lacrosse-style goal came just 4:47 into the first period against the Raiders in Prince Albert.
Suz-Your-Daddy!! Alexander Suzdalev pulls off The Michigan. His 29th goal of the season #ALLCAPS pic.twitter.com/kwh8qB2uRf
— Capitals Prospects (@jon_m_sorensen) February 18, 2023
The goals was the 29th of his rookie season in the WHL. Suzdalev, 18, has 29g, 38a in 49 games played for a 1.37 points per game average. He’s shot 115 times for a 25.21% shooting percentage.
Suzdalev has always been a “magician” around the net. Earlier this season he scored a between-the-legs goal that was pretty impressive.
🚨 SUZY GOES BETWEEN THE LEGS 🚨
We are tied at 2!#LegendsInTheMaking | @Capitals | @TheWHL pic.twitter.com/CtaLxz9Ctk
— Regina Pats (@WHLPats) January 15, 2023
Suzdalev was chosen in the third round, 70th overall, by the Capitals in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft. It just so happens to be the team he grew up rooting for.
“I was a huge Caps fan,” Suzdalev said. “I was loving Ovi [Alexander Ovechkin] and I was from a place in Siberia where Alexander Semin was from so that was my favourite player when I was little. … Really happy to be drafted by them. It couldn’t be any better almost.”
Rookie Season In North America
He’s been in North America and playing hockey on North American-sized rinks for less than a year, but so far, by most accounts, things are going really well for Suzdalev. Suzdalev made the jump across the pond from Sweden last summer, signing with the Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League (WHL).
What has Suzdalev enjoyed about playing for the Pats so far this season?
“Everything so far,” Suzdalev told Robin Wark. “I fit in pretty good in the group and everyone is really nice. I love the city. The fans were really good the last couple games here and it was sure fun to play. Of course, when you have as good a player on your team as Connor Bedard [who is projected to be the first pick in the 2023 National Hockey League Draft], it sure makes it a lot more fun to play with him and go at it every practice.”
Suzdalev attended the Capitals’ development camp in July and Capitals rookie and training camps in September. “It didn’t feel real almost at the time,” he said. “In your first rookie camp, you learn a lot – taking from the good players.”
By Jon Sorensen
That kid is fun to watch.
The Pats team is a highlight reel.
So much raw talent in Suz.
See him in Wash in 25/26 or late 24/25. By then the rebuild will be in force and the HC will be looking at younger players!
I see a somewhat similar timeline for an “ideal” development trajectory. He’s just 18, but having watched 40+ of his games this season, I don’t think another year in the CHL is the right play next season.
The part of the game that he needs to work on is better developed at the AHL level. Because he came from Europe, he is not bound by the 20-years-old rule, so he could move to AHL next season if Caps want to go that route.
I think if he can, they should. But could you elaborate a bit more on what he needs to work on, what the Bears can provide better than the CHL?