On the Clock: Sam Bennett
ISS Ranking: 4
Weight: 178 lbs
In a nutshell
The No. 1 rated North American skater according to Central Scouting, Bennett is a smart, two-way forward that puts up points and has some sandpaper in his game. The recently turned 18-year-old put up 91 points (36-55-91) and 118 penalty-minutes in 57 games last year with the Kingston Frontenacs, as well as nine points (5-4-9) in seven post-season games.
Been there, done that
Won gold medals for Canada at the 2013 Ivan Hlinka and the 2013 World Under-18 Championships (as an underage player). Posted 11 points (6-5-11) in 12 games combined at the two tournaments. Netted six points (3-3-6) in five games for Team Ontario at the 2013 World Under-17 Challenge.
Joe Pavelski, Doug Gilmour and Jonathan Toews have been thrown around as comparisons for the way Bennett plays. I see a bit of all three in his game. Pavelski’s two-way play, Gilmour’s heart and soul, with Toews’ lead by example approach.
Word on the street
“The heady centre is viewed as the most complete prospect available in this draft.” – TSN’s Bob McKenzie (April 15, 2014)“Three things stand out about Bennett: His versatility, an edge to his play and his ability to ‘step up’ when it counts. Combine this with his skill-level and it makes Sam a top-end prospect.” – TSN’s Craig Button (Jan. 23, 2014)
Good fit in Vancouver?
Of course he would fit in Vancouver. He is the most complete forward available in the draft and doesn’t appear to have any weaknesses, except for maybe pull-ups. He’s fearless on the ice, plays with passion and grit, understands how to play in all three zones, and puts up points. If the Canucks want him, they will most likely have to move up, as Bennett should be off the board with one of the first four picks.