Samuel Bennett THW Close-Up:
Date of birth: 6/20/1996
Place of birth: Richmond Hill, ON, CAN
Ht: 6’0″ Wt: 181 lbs
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2014
THW The Next Ones Rankings (January 2014): 3
THW War Room Rankings (April): 4
Craig Button: 3
CS Final Rankings for North American skaters: 1
Samuel Bennett is getting talked about quite a bit leading up to the draft, and for good reason. His work ethic is unmatched and his effort on the ice speaks volumes game in and game out. He’s arguably the most talented all-around forward in this year’s draft class. Bennett has impeccable vision up and down the ice and an uncanny ability to create plays and make tape-to-tape passes with ease. He’s a setup man first, goal scorer second, but he’s also an adept defensive player, as well.
Someone who plays 200 ft. of ice is tough to come by, but Sam Bennett’s tenacity to separate a player from the puck is something to be admired. He is sound positionally and gets back into the play with his quick feet and agility. He battles in the corners and certainly doesn’t mind heading to the dirty areas of the ice to help his team.
Bennett will be a solid puzzle piece for anyone of the teams picking in the top five. He’s a model of consistency you can build a franchise around for years down the road. There isn’t much he needs to work on except getting bigger to sustain the physical play at the NHL level. Other than that, he’s going to be a very good hockey player.
Where Will He End Up In June:
He will go in the top five picks. The real question is which one? If Florida is looking to build more offense, which I don’t think they need, he could go first, but it’s more likely he is a 2nd or 3rd overall selection.
“Bennett is an energetic, skilled winger who is quick on his feet and has deceptive speed. He generates chances with his quickness, awareness and constant effort. He’s not flashy, but energetic and does possess an excellent release.”
Aaron Vickers – Future Considerations
“Where McKeown is tougher to project, teammate Sam Bennett is one of the most complete forwards you’ll find in 2014. The 6-foot centre had a terrific rookie season and capped it off by representing Team Canada at the Under 18 World Championships as an underaged player (alongside McKeown). Bennett is a true 200-foot player and is capable of playing on the powerplay, penalty kill, and is never one to cheat his defensive responsibilities to initiate something at the other end of the ice. That’s not to downplay his offensive game, however, as Bennett is a very crafty player who has a deceptive shot release and underrated playmaking ability. His overall ceiling might not match that of some of the guys in front of him but there’s no doubting his ability to be a top six player in the NHL and more.”
“Slightly undersized, Sam Bennett is extremely thin and needs to put on weight before he will be able to play his game in the NHL. Still that size hasn’t slowed Bennett down as he has excellent hockey sense, and always seems to be in the right place, and make the right play. He finds holes in the defence and can get open. With the puck on his stick he is a deadly playmaker as he has the vision to find open teammates, and the passing skills to make tape-to-tape passes to create scoring chances. He is a hard worker who will work on the cycle game and can protect the puck well. This will only get better as he adds muscle. Bennett can also score goals with good hands in tight, and an excellent release on his wrist shot.
Good skating, and excellent agility and acceleration make Bennett a menace off the rush, or in cycling the puck as he seems to slip by defenders who can’t keep up with him when he quickly changes speeds. Bennett has an extremely good first step, and when Bennett drops his shoulder and decides to take off, he can quickly separate from defenders. He has good balance on his skates and is tough to knock off the puck. Again this is an area that will improve with more strength.
A hard-worker, Bennett is fearless, and always involved in the corners, in front of the net and at the middle of the after the whistle scrums. He shows this work-ethic in the defensive zone where he is willing to use his body along the boards, to block shots, to support his defensemen in their own zone.”
Ben Kerr – Last Word On Sports
“A centre-wing with great foot speed, skills and edge. Can score and generate offense, but also forecheck with opposing players shaken when he is coming. In open ice, his acceleration gives him even more respect and he is an excellent one-on-one attacker. He will get stronger and maybe bigger.”
Bill Placzek – Draftsite.com
Interview with Yahoo Sports’ Neate Sager
Interview with Last Word On Sports
Bennett played for team Canada three times, once for Canada Ontario’s team for the U17 World Hockey Championships, once for the U18 World Junior Championships, and once in the Ivan Hlinka tournament. In that time, he’s won two gold medals.
Risk: 1/5 Reward: 5/5
Top six forward
Deceptively quick shot power
Vision all over the ice
Flaws/Aspects He Needs To Work On:
Needs to add more muscle
Fantasy Hockey Potential:
Offensive: 9/10 Defensive: 5/10
NHL Player Comparison:
– NHL comparison: Joe Pavelski
– Hall of Fame comparison: Doug Gilmour
THW’s The Next Ones prospect profile template design architect: Chris Ralph
Follow Shawn on Twitter: @ShawnTHW