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Road to the NHL Draft: Sam Bennett

By John Vogl

Sam Bennett

Position: Center

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.


NHL Entry Draft
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John Vogl

John Vogl

John Vogl has been covering the Sabres since 2002-03, an era that has included playoff runs, last-place finishes and three ownership changes. The award-winning writer is the Buffalo chapter chairman for the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

@BuffNewsVogl |

About Sabres Edge

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has been covering the Buffalo Sabres since 2007. He is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association and can vouch that exposed flesh freezes instantly when walking in downtown Winnipeg in January.

@BNHarrington |

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz |