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Alexander Suzdalev Continues To Build Body Mass And Overall Strength Ahead Of 2023-24 Season


Washington Capitals prospect Alexander Suzdalev is likely going to play in North America this season. The question remains, where? Even though he has the option of returning to the Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League (WHL) for another season, Suzdalev believes he is ready for the next step, at the professional level. 

“It’s a goal. It’s not a secret. It’ll be good for sure,” Suzdalev said. “I’m trying to improve every day, listen to the coaches, take advice and just focus on the next step.”

Alexander Suzdalev 2023 Annual Review and Forecast

The 19-year-old had a very strong 2022-23 season, racking up 86 points (38 goals, 48 assists) in 66 games, which ranked second on Regina and first among WHL rookies. The former third-round pick is a very skilled player with an elite hockey sense. That has never been in question.

But unlike the junior leagues, where it is primarily based on flashiness, professional hockey is known for both physicality and speed. So the Khabarovsk, Russia native had to address the physical part of his game, or lack thereof, headed into the offseason.

“He’s a really smart player. He’s got a really good shot too, but he was a little bit light,” assistant general manager Ross Mahoney said. “He’d have to get a little bit stronger, be better at holding position in front of the net for deflections or winning more puck battles in the corners, those sort of things. So strength was an issue for him, like it is for most younger fellas that are out here like the 18 and 19 year olds.”

Last season, Suzdalev weighed in at 6-foot-2, 171 pounds. Now he weighs 10 pounds heavier at 181 pounds. While he attributes this to hard work in the weight room, an important aspect to his weight gain, he says, was adjusting his diet.

“Just getting extra food in or to get those extra calories. That helped me a lot to gain weight to put on muscle,” Suzdalev said. “[The Capitals] have a very good nutritionist here. So I mean, we went over stuff at development camp, but I knew stuff for myself too. Obviously playing with Connor Bedard, he’s pretty healthy and good with nutrition.”

In terms of changes on the ice, the left winger wants to simplify his game and make quick decisions with the puck. While his playmaking ability and puck skills are off the charts, Suzdalev occasionally made careless decisions with the puck rather than smart ones.

“The decision making on the ice I think is part of it too. You can’t do that much in juniors too. So you have to make the right play,” Suzdalev said. “Sometimes you gotta get the puck deep and not dribble the extra guy.”

With a new body build and high expectations, Suzdalev wants to make an immediate impact with the Hershey Bears this season and be ready when his name is called upon.

“That was my goal this summer. Getting stronger and stronger every day in different parts of my body, so I can play at higher levels,” Suzdalev said. “If the chance comes and if I get some games, I’m sure I’ll be ready and do my best.”

By Jacob Cheris

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.

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