With Shea Weber’s career now over, and his contract traded away, the Montreal Canadiens were left without a captain. The team has remedied that situation today, by officially introducing Nick Suzuki as the 31st captain in franchise history. He will be joined by Brendan Gallagher and Joel Edmundson, who will serve as alternates this season.
Suzuki, 23, was actually acquired by the Canadiens in a deal that saw a former captain traded away. In 2018, Suzuki was part of the return for Max Pacioretty, after being selected by the Vegas Golden Knights 13th overall in 2017. He made his NHL debut in the 2019-20 season and quickly became one of the most important players in the Montreal lineup. Through 209 regular season games, Suzuki has 49 goals and 143 points, including career-highs of 21 and 61 in the 2021-22 campaign.
It was his performance in the 2021 playoffs that was so encouraging though. With the games as tight as ever, Suzuki still managed to lead the Canadiens in scoring, racking up seven goals and 16 points in 22 games as the Canadiens went on a miraculous run to the Stanley Cup Final.
Now, after a down year when the Canadiens failed to make the playoffs and a clear rebuild underway, Suzuki will be the rallying point that general manager Kent Hughes and head coach Martin St. Louis build around. Last October, he signed an eight-year, $63MM contract extension that will carry an average annual value of $7.875MM, meaning there is no risk of him jumping ship anytime soon. Instead, Suzuki will be the face of the Canadiens for years to come, and have a “C” sewn into his sweater when the game start in a few weeks.