Alexander Suzdalev is coming off a super successful first season in North America with the WHL’s Regina Pats. The 19-year-old winger was named to the league’s All-Rookie Team after a season that saw him record 86 points (38g, 48a) in 66 regular season games.
According to the Regina Leader Post, instead of returning to the Pats for another season, Suzdalev will be turning pro. That likely means the Hershey Bears are adding yet another offensive weapon to a firepower-filled roster.
Because Suzdalev was drafted by the Caps out of Europe in 2022 before heading to the WHL, he qualifies for a rare exception to the CHL-NHL Transfer Agreement. Most 19 year olds in the CHL would have to return to junior for their age-20 campaign, but Suzdalev can freely play in the AHL. The Russian-born, Swedish-raised forward joined the Bears as a Calder Cup Playoffs black ace this past postseason.
Suzdalev is just a day removed from completing his second development camp with the Caps. Capitals assistant general manager Ross Mahoney commented positively on the young winger’s performance.
“He played very well,” Mahoney said on Wednesday. “He’s starting to get stronger. Obviously, he came off a really good year in Regina. He was Rookie of the Year and a lot of people thought it was because he was with [Connor] Bedard but he actually didn’t play with Bedard a lot five-on-five. From watching him last camp to watching him this camp, you can see that he’s getting stronger and more confident.”
Suzdalev’s first season in Canadian junior was full of accolades. He was named WHL Rookie of the Month on three separate occasions. He also pulled off ‘The Michigan’ in a live game and recorded his first career hat trick.
His 86 points saw him ranked first among all WHL rookies in scoring, besting the next-highest scorer by 28 points. Over the full course of the season, he had seven games with at least three points. He then added 10 more points (3g, 7a) in 10 playoff games.
The Bears have been super busy already this summer. At forward alone they have signed or re-signed Julian Napravnik, Pierrick Dube, Riley Sutter, Matthew Phillips, and Alex Limoges. Suzdalev will also have to likely compete with fellow prospects Ivan Miroshnichenko, Bogdan Trineyev, Ryan Hofer, Brett Hyland, and Ludwig Persson.
Headline photo: Alan Dobbins/RMNB
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