We continue our in-depth look at the top five prospects for the 2014 NHL Entry Draft with ISS Hockey by looking at Sam Bennett. Bennett is currently a center for the Kingston Frontenacs where he has tallied 131 points in 117 regular season games. During the 2013-14 campaign, Bennett 36 goals and 55 assists in 57 regular season games. In this year’s playoffs, he was more than a point-per-game player, registering nine points (5G-4A) in seven games.
On the ISS Top 30, Bennett is ranked as the fourth best prospect in the draft. You can also get more detailed information on all of the top prospects for the draft by purchasing the ISS Hockey Draft Guide.
Read on below as we go in-depth with Dennis MacInnis, Director of Scouting with ISS Hockey, on what Sam Bennett has to offer to his future NHL team.
Born – June 20, 1996
Birthplace – Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada
Position – Center
Shoots – Left
Height – 6’00″
Weight – 178 lbs
Penalty Box Radio: Briefly describe what makes Sam Bennett’s skill-set unique from others in the draft.
Dennis MacInnis: Bennett has elite skating and puck skills but adding his competitive edge to the mix really sets him apart from most players in this upcoming draft. Although [he’s] not the biggest or “heaviest” player available, he gives as good as he takes and is a fearless competitor on the ice.
PBR: What three teams that did not make the playoffs could benefit most from drafting Bennet and why?
DM: Calgary – fits a Brian Burke team to a tee.
Nashville – a club that could use a competitive, offensive player who brings entertainment value as well.
Vancouver – Bennett would be a home run for the prospect-starved Canucks. A club looking to establish a new identity would love Bennett to lead the way in Trevor Linden’s new team mold.
PBR: What current NHL player would Bennett be similar to once he reaches his prime?
DM: Sam’s closest comparison actually might be his GM for his junior club in Kingston, Doug Gilmour. However, in today’s NHL Zach Parise would probably be the closest comparison, although Bennett has a higher natural skill level and more edge.
PBR: What ability does Bennett have that would strike fear into opponents?
DM: Bennett’s skill level becomes even more dangerous when you add in his competitive fire. He’s the type of player that opposing coaches will be conscious of in their game planning due to his dynamic skill set.
PBR: Can you see Sam Bennett playing immediately in the 2014-2015 NHL season? If not, how far away is he?
DM: Look for Bennett to spend at least one more year in junior, and most likely two. He still needs to add strength to be able to compete effectively at the NHL level against men. He plays a style where he never backs down and attacks the tough areas of the ice, so working on his strength will have a major impact on his game.
If you want more information on the top prospects for the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, make sure to visit ISSHockey.com and follow them on Twitter @ISSHockey. Make sure to take a look at our preview of William Nylander with ISS Hockey.
*Images courtesy of Kingston Frontenacs*