Kicking off the top five is Nick Suzuki, who had a nice round mark of 60.0%. I would have wanted him to be higher, and I would bet that, like Cole Caufield, next year he will be.
Nothing in this list of measured metrics was bad per se, but nothing stood out as being fantastic either. His best finish was third-best on the team in defensive-zone faceoffs per 60. after that he was the sixth-best in points per 60.
For both Corsi-for percentage and goals-for percentage, he was the ninth-best on the team and his expected-goals-for percentage was one worse than that.
Being 22 years old and given a number-one centre roll with an ever-rotating cast of wingers and a coach with questionable strategy at best wasn’t exactly a recipe for success. Add to that the aforementioned D-zone starts, the fact that Suzuki didn’t completely implode is a small miracle.
Not only did he not implode, but there were many moments last year when he downright thrived, especially toward the end. His ability to force turnovers in every zone will probably only get more consistent and will almost certainly contribute to a much better shot share which will in turn raise the xGF and GF.
In a year when veterans struggled, Suzuki proved his toughness and resilience, evidenced by his ranking in this top five. To me, that really means there’s no ceiling for this kid.
For more info on the model I used, check out the introduction to this series.
#5 Nick Suzuki
#6: Tyler Toffoli
#7: Jonathan Drouin
#8: Cole Caufield
#9: Michael Pezzetta
#10: Josh Anderson
#11: Rem Pitlick
#12: Mike Hoffman
#13: Joel Armia
#14: Ryan Poehling
#15: Laurent Dauphin
#16: Paul Byron