Colts make Suzuki top pick in 2017 Priority Selection

Aaron VickersOHL

Photo by Troy Shantz | OHL Images

Ryan Suzuki of ALLIANCE’s London Jr. Knights will be the first overall pick in the 2017 OHL Priority Selection.

The Ontario Hockey League in association with the Barrie Colts Hockey Club made the selection announcement in a news conference Friday.

“The opportunity to have the first selection in the OHL Priority Selection is exciting for us,” Colts General Manager Jason Ford said in a release. “When you have the ability to add a player of the calibre of Ryan, that makes a big difference to the team going forward. Hats off to our scouting staff.

“It’s always a big job to make sure you’ve seen as many players as possible and with a deep draft this year, it was lots of work. We’re very happy that Ryan chose the OHL and thrilled that he will be a Barrie Colt.”

Suzuki, eligible for the 2019 NHL Draft, is the ALLIANCE Minor Midget Player of the Year after leading the league in scoring with 19 goals and 59 points in 32 games and helped the Jr. Knights earn their seventh straight league title.

“I really like the kind of player Ryan is,” Colts Head Coach Dale Hawerchuk said. “He leads by example and it’s great to have a player like that coming onto the team. He sees the ice exceptionally well, has skill, can score, but he’s also is a playmaker.

I think he’ll be a key asset for us and make a big impact, and we really like him off the ice too. His brother is obviously doing very well in this league and I’m excited to start working with Ryan.”

Suzuki is the younger brother of 2017 NHL Draft eligible forward Nick Suzuki. Nick Suzuki is 19th in Future Considerations’ Spring ranking for the 2017 NHL Draft.

Past first overall selections in the OHL Priority Selection include Jakob Chychrun (2014), Travis Konecny (2013), Connor McDavid (2012), Aaron Ekblad (2011), Alex Galchenyuk (2010), Steven Stamkos (2006) and John Tavares (2005).