One of the top 2021 draft-eligible players is potentially switching university commitments, a top New York Rangers prospect has signed a deal to stay in Sweden another year, and we take a look at a player who dominated the high school level for our Prospect of the Day.
Beniers May Switch NCAA Schools
Top 2021 NHL Draft prospect Matthew Beniers may be withdrawing his commitment from Harvard and going to Michigan next season. Although it is speculation at the moment, it would be a huge loss for Harvard.
The 6-foot-0 forward spent this past season playing for the United States U18 National Team. In the 44 games played, he scored 18 goals and added 23 assists for 41 points. He also played for the U.S. National Team Development Program (USNTDP) where he collected seven goals and nine assists for 16 points in 16 games.
Beniers is a player who does everything well. A great skater who loves to carry the puck and make plays, he has the ability to change the game at any moment. If he were to join Michigan for the upcoming season, he would be joining a team full of talent that includes players such as Thomas Bordeleau, Brendan Brisson, Kent Johnson and Owen Power.
Lundkvist to Stay in Sweden One More Season
Rangers fans will have to wait one more season to see top prospect Nils Lundkvist come over to North America. It was announced on Tuesday that he has signed a one year extension with Lulea HF of the Swedish Hockey League (SHL).
The 20-year old defenseman put up great numbers this past season. In 45 games he scored 11 goals and added 20 assists for 31 points to go along with 30 penalty minutes. He also represented his country on the international stage, where he scored two goals and 18 assists for 20 points in 23 games.
In a prospect profile written by Last Word on Hockey’s Ben Kerr before the 2018 NHL Draft, he found what stood out about Lundkvist was his ability to move the puck and contribute on offense.
“Lundkvist could develop into a top four defenceman, capable of moving the puck quickly and adding some offence. He needs time to add some strength, and to continue to work on his slap shot and his backwards skating. Lundkvist will likely spend another season or two in Sweden before coming over to North America, and the team drafting him should be patient with his development. If things go well they could add a real weapon in a league that is moving more and more towards speed and skill on the blueline every year.”
All in all, everyone in the Rangers organization is excited about Lundkvist. He could be a game changer for them and it is easy to see why they want him in a Rangers sweater sooner rather than later.
Prospect of the Day – Blake Biondi
Our Prospect of the Day takes a look at Hermantown H.S. star Blake Biondi, who dominated Minnesota high school hockey this past season. He is currently ranked 64th amongst North American skaters.
In 25 games for Hermantown, Biondi scored 37 goals and added 39 assists for 76 points. He also suited up for the Sioux City Musketeers of the USHL where he collected one goal and two assists for three points in 10 games.
Biondi proved that high school hockey was no challenge for him as he absolutely dominated. He should be playing at a higher level and will do so next year when he joins the Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs of the NCAA.
Our own Jeb Biggart thinks he has the toolkit to be a mid-round pick in this upcoming draft.
“High school didn’t provide Biondi with much competition regularly, but he was still able to showcase the toolkit that makes him a projected mid-round selection in the 2020 NHL Draft. Stacking up points against high school competition shouldn’t stand out, but few prospects can incorporate a 200-foot physical and poised style of play such has Biondi. He rarely loses a one-vs-one battle thanks to his excellent hands and foot speed.”
Biondi definitely has the potential to be a great player down the road, but now it is up to him to see how far he can take his talent and run with it.
My name is Mathieu Sheridan. I am a writer here at THW who covers the OHL and prospects in general.