2020-21 Team: London Knights (#74)
Date of Birth: Nov. 3, 2002
Place of Birth: Brighton, ON, CAN
Ht: 6-foot-4 Wt: 200 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2021 first-year eligible
Ben Roger could not suit up for the London Knights last season due to the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) shutdown. Although that may be problematic for potential teams looking to draft him, he is still an intriguing option. He is a mobile defenseman that uses his enormous size to his advantage. He has gained 35 pounds since the beginning of the pandemic and mentioned that he has improved his stride, movement, and power. (from “Pyette: London Knights defenceman hopes to impress NHL scouts at Erie showcase – The London Press, 5/9/2021).
Related: THW 2021 NHL Draft Guide
Roger has been in the London organization for the past three seasons. In 2018-19, he played with the Wellington Dukes of the Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL) and put up four goals and 18 points in 52 games. His production warranted a one-game call-up to the Knights, where he eventually found his footing as a regular player. He showed signs of promise in the 2019-20 season, scoring six points in 35 games. He participated in the Erie Showcase last month, and was able to showcase his improvements to NHL scouts.
His international history is short but includes participating in the OHL Cup in the 2017-18 season. Playing with the Quinte Red Devils U16 AAA team, he suited up for one game in the OHL Cup. There are plenty of Ontario-born NHL players that never get to participate in that tournament, so it’s an impressive feat for Roger. He is the type of player that could be a sleeper pick in the later round.
Other THW Draft Profiles:
Ben Roger – NHL Draft Projection
Roger will likely be taken between the third and fifth round, and there is no chance that he is not selected on the second day of the draft. Teams will want a player with his playstyle, and I wonder if the Seattle Kraken take a flyer on him. Ron Francis likes to build his teams around defensemen, as we saw with the Carolina Hurricanes. There could be a fit there.
“There’s a group of defensemen that didn’t play this year who I feel really showed a good raw development curve. Jacob Holmes (6-1, 205; No. 70) of Sault Ste. Marie, Ben Roger (6-4, 200; No. 74) of London, Ryan Mast (6-4, 210; No. 89) of Sarnia, and Artem Guryev (6-4, 225; No. 99) of Peterborough… these guys are mobile defensemen with good size. They are kind of the modern-day defenseman. You kind of see there’s a lot of development to work within these guys. They are four who could be good sleeper picks who potentially could have good careers at the next level.” – Mike G. Morreale, NHL.com.
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
Roger has had a lot of time to train and work on his game. He needs to get better at finding shooting lanes to the net. In London, his shots often were getting blocked by the opposition, and it led to turnovers. His game is still raw, and he needs to learn to play with his size consistently.
Roger has the potential to be a third-pairing defenseman at the NHL level. He can likely play on the penalty kill and use his big frame to make it challenging against the opposing players. The offensive upside is not excessively high. Still, his combination of speed and size will give him more opportunities than most. There is a very good chance that he ends up in an NHL lineup one day.
Risk – 2/5, Reward – 4/5
Roger won the OJHL Championships as a member of the Quinte Red Devils U16 AAA team.
Ben Roger Statistics
Jordan Jacklin is a freelance writer who covers the Buffalo Sabres here at The Hockey Writers. Jordan is a student at Ryerson’s Sport Media program and uses analytics and video scouting to evaluate your favourite players in the game.