The Washington Capitals selected Swedish winger Alexander Suzdalev in the third round of the most recent NHL Draft and signed him to an entry-level contract in July. So far in his junior career, he has remained solely in Sweden, playing mainly in HV71’s development system. That will change this year.
Suzdalev signed Friday with the WHL’s Regina Pats for the 2022-23 season.
The Regina Pats are pleased to announce the signing of @Capitals prospect Alexander Suzdalev!
🗞️For more details, click below🔽
— Regina Pats (@WHLPats) August 19, 2022
Suzdalev was originally drafted by the Pats in the second round of the 2021 CHL Import Draft. With HV71 last season, he finished tenth in J20 Nationell scoring, grabbing 51 points from 45 games. That total was also second among all U-18 skaters.
The Russian-born, Swedish-raised winger’s season was good for the tenth-best U-18 season in league history. He out-scored points pace-wise in his age 17 season players like Erik Karlsson, Kevin Fiala, Jakub Vrana, Adrian Kempe, and Loui Eriksson among others. He was an attendee at Sweden’s U-20 summer camp which began the formation process of their 2023 World Juniors roster.
“It’s a really good opportunity to play in the Western Hockey League,” said Suzdalev in Regina’s press release. “It was something I couldn’t say no, as it will be great for the development of my game, playing with more mature players. When Connor Bedard played in Sweden, he played for my team (HV71 J18 & J20), so we know each other pretty well, so that’s where it all started. So when the opportunity came, I thought it was a great one.”
The young winger smartly mentions current Regina player Connor Bedard. Bedard is expected to be the runaway number one overall selection in the 2023 NHL Draft and has been lauded as a potential generational talent since he was just 15 years old. He led the Pats in scoring last season with 100 points in 62 games.
The pass-first approach from the wing that Suzdalev has could fix extremely well with the more goal-driven center that Bedard is. Keep an eye on that connection as the WHL schedule progresses.
Here’s the full release from the Pats:
Pats Sign Washington Capitals Prospect Suzdalev
Regina, Sask. — The Regina Pats Hockey Club is proud to announce the signing of Washington Capitals prospect Alexander Suzdalev to a WHL Standard Player Agreement.
“He’s a highly skilled guy who moves around the ice pretty good,” Pats General Manager and Head Coach John Paddock said. “Any time we can improve our talent — upgrade it — it’s a real plus and that’s the case with this.”
Suzdalev, 18, was drafted by the Pats in the second round (95th overall) of the 2021 CHL Import Draft. The left-shot winger was selected 70th overall in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft by the Capitals, following an impressive season with HV71 (Sweden-Jr.), where he led his club in scoring with 51 points (15G-36A) in 45 games and ranked 10th in Sweden’s top junior league in points.
“It’s a really good opportunity to play in the Western Hockey League,” said Suzdalev. “It was something I couldn’t say no, as it will be great for the development of my game, playing with more mature players. When Connor Bedard played in Sweden, he played for my team (HV71 J18 & J20), so we know each other pretty well, so that’s where it all started. So when the opportunity came, I thought it was a great one.”
Born in Khabarovsk, Russia, Suzdalev moved to Sweden when he was seven years old after his father Anatoly Suzdalev had signed a bandy contract with Swedish bandy club, Vetlanda Bandyklubb. He holds dual citizenship, but has represented Sweden at the international level, winning a gold medal with Sweden at the 2022 IIHF World U18 Championships, skating in six games.
The Capitals signed the 2004-born winger to a three-year entry level contract on July 13 after attending their summer development camp.
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