"It’s kind of always been natural for me," the Canadiens’ Nick Suzuki says about his leadership skills. "More lead by example kind of guy.”

It wouldn’t be a shock if Nick Suzuki gets the nod after a season in which Shea Weber was the absent captain, sidelined by injuries and remaining home in Kelowna, B.C.

Suzuki will turn 23 in August and will be heading into his fourth NHL season. It will also be the first season of his new eight-year, US$63-million contract with an annual salary-cap hit of $7.875 million.

While it might seem like a lot of pressure to put on such a young player, there is no doubt Suzuki has become a leader on this team. He also seems to have the maturity and personality to handle whatever is thrown his way.

“It’s kind of changed throughout the whole year,” Suzuki said after practice Monday when asked about his leadership role on the team. “At one point, we didn’t have many of our older guys and guys that have played a lot of games. So at that point I had to speak up a lot more. We had a really young team and just wanted to try to help the younger guys and the guys that haven’t played that much in any way I could. But now we have kind of a full roster and just kind of do my own thing, lead by example, speak up when I feel like I need to.

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