Prospect: Beau Bennett
Shero then tried to trade back in the first round to select Bennett but none of the teams wanted the Penguins to gain any additional picks.
Bennett is a dynamic offensive forward who had a solid but inconsistent freshman season at the University of Denver this year. Being a freshman hockey player at an NCAA school is never easy but Bennett had to adjust while playing on a top 10 team. Often in the shadow of fellow freshman and WCHA Rookie of the Year Jason Zucker (MIN 2nd Round 2010), Bennett got 2nd line and 2nd PP minutes last season.
Bennett really started heating up in late November until a knee injury forced him out of the lineup. Initially, the injury was afraid to be season ending, but it only kept him out until Jan. 14. He then picked up where he left off. Bennett soon cooled off but then rode a 6 game point streak into the NCAA tournament.
He will return to Denver this season and will enjoy an increased role with 2 seniors graduating from the top 2 lines.
++ Hands, Creativity
— Competitive Spirit
— Physical Play
Bennett is not a small player but he needs to add weight before reaching the NHL. He tends to stick to the perimeter but will drive the net for a scoring chance. Not a lazy player but his game is all offense. He has added 10 pounds since last year.
Offense: Bennett is a fast, agile skater with great hands, the best of all Penguins prospects. Always wants the puck on his stick – but he could improve his play away from the puck. Hard, heavy wrist and snap shot. He does not use a slap shot very often. Good power play guy from the left half boards. Needs to get stronger on the puck and better along the boards and in the corners.
Defense: Not much defense to Bennett’s game. He covers his point guy and is adept at getting the puck off the wall and to his teammates but is not a 2 way player. Not a penalty killer or a shot blocker.
Physicality: Bennett was very physical in Prospect Camp last summer – even dropping a few bigger defenseman. He even went after the much bigger Eric Tangradi. However, he is definitely not a dominant forechecker. According to Denver, he did record 98 hits last season. He does not take many penalties (18 PIM in 2010-2011).
What Others are Saying About Bennett
Now, let me highlight one more part of that profile. Central Scouting Services ranked him 48th at midterm, and moved him up 16 spots among North American skaters to 32nd. All this despite playing in a Junior A league and not having many other accolades other than being a viable scoring machine for Penticton. I would think this would mean that there is truly substance behind those numbers.
But seriously, it’s good that he’s cognizant of his size/strength issue. Hopefully someone tipped him about the playoffs, his defensive game, and his lack of a physical game.
I’m confident that going to the WCHA will help him realize and improve in those areas. What if he’s available and the Devils draft him? The pick wouldn’t surprise me and in some ways, it would make sense. The Devils are generally patient with prospects, they have no problem drafting players right out of Junior A hockey (especially the BCHL), and Bennett would be a prospect with more offensive flair, which would help fill a dearth of offensive players in the system.
Beau Bennett, RW Penticton Vees (BCHL), 6-1/170
One of the best pure skaters in the draft and has all the requisite offensive skills to develop into a second-line scoring winger. His great skills and offensive instincts make him a threat on the powerplay. Will need to get stronger and prove that he can fight through tight checking games to make it in the NHL.
A bit of a late bloomer who had a tremendous year in the BCHL after playing in the MEWHL with Los Angeles last season. His physical build is slender, but his skills are high end and he’s the type of player that can really break a game open with his ability to generate offense. He’s going to be heading to the University of Denver where he’ll need a few years as he’s a bit of a project right now. Don’t be surprised if a team is willing to step up and gamble on him in the late first round, either.
He is a responsible player, but he has to work on his defensive zone game a bit. Where he’s at his best is around the opposing net. Bennett is usually found in front, using his nose for the puck to score both the pretty goals and the tough ones.
In the offensive zone, he is a gifted playmaker as well as a scorer.
Committed to the University of Denver, Bennett will have to spend a year or two in college, as his 175-pound frame won’t hold up if he doesn’t do something about it. Expect Bennett to struggle a bit in college while he tries to figure out the faster, more physical game he’ll find there, and while he tries to add some muscle. (FF bold for emphasis)
Video of Bennett in action
Highlights from BCHL: