By John Vogl
Junior team: Kingston (OHL)
Born: Holland Landing, Ont.
Measurables: 6-foot, 178 pounds
2013-14 stats: 57 games, 36 goals, 55 assists, 91 points
Central Scouting rank: No. 1 (North America)
Lowdown: Bennett is too young to have seen Doug Gilmour play, so he has to take everyone’s word for it when they compare him to the Hall of Famer. The bonus is he gets to talk to Gilmour about it because the former Sabres forward is Bennett’s general manager in Kingston.
Bennett resembles “Killer” because they share a gritty game that goes from one end of the rink to the other. Bennett hounds opponents incessantly, and he’s not afraid to go over the line. He served a five-game suspension this season for high-sticking. The absence didn’t stop him from finishing ninth in scoring in the Ontario Hockey League. The OHL coaches voted him Smartest Player, Best Playmaker and Best Stickhandler.
Bennett’s speed and acceleration help him at both ends of the ice, as does his keen hockey sense. His slight frame is his biggest drawback, and it was magnified at the NHL Scouting Combine when he failed to complete even one overhand pullup.
They said it: “He plays the kind of game you think cannot be sustained for a whole season because it’s a high-energy game and compete game at all ends of the ice. He ends up playing that game for the whole year. He just never stops, and put that with the skill package he has and how well he thinks the game, he’s pretty much a top-notch player.” – David Gregory, NHL Central Scouting.
The Buffalo News is profiling 30 prospects in 30 days leading up to the NHL draft, which begins June 27.
taggedNHL Entry Draft