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Tracking the Storm

Draft Profile: Sam Bennett

Friday, 06.13.2014 / 10:00 AM / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
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Draft Profile: Sam Bennett
The consensus No. 1 ranked North American skater may not be the consensus No. 1 pick come June 27, but he\'s still one of the top prospects available.
Each weekday leading up to the 2014 NHL Draft on June 27-28, CarolinaHurricanes.com will profile one player we believe might be available for Carolina’s seventh pick. Related Links: 2014 NHL Draft Preview | Hurricanes Draft History




Michael Smith
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Sam Bennett’s 18th birthday falls exactly a week before the first round of the 2014 NHL Draft when he, in all likelihood, will be a top five pick, bringing him a step closer to fulfilling his dream of playing in the National Hockey League.

Happy birthday, indeed.

Bennett, a center who hails from Holland Landing, Ontario, was the NHL Central Scouting Service’s top-ranked North American skater on both their midterm and final rankings. He ranked ninth in the OHL with 91 points (36g, 55a) in 57 games, leading his Kingston Frontenacs in points, goals, assists, plus/minus (plus-34) and power-play goals (10).

From November 8 through January 26, Bennett assembled a league-best 25-game scoring streak in which he totaled 46 points, including 17 goals.

SAM BENNETT
Sam Bennett
CENTER
HOMETOWN: HOLLAND LANDING, ONTARIO
HEIGHT: 6'0"
WEIGHT: 178
BIRTHDAY: JUNE 20, 1996 (AGE 17)

“He’s very quick and very shifty. He’s got a great shot,” said Tony MacDonald, the Canes head of amateur scouting. “He battles hard on the wall and wins a lot of battles for the puck.”

Bennett, named the Canadian Hockey League’s top prospect of the year, has said what sets him apart from other prospects is his unmatched compete level. MacDonald agrees.

“He’s probably the grittiest competitor in the Draft and probably the most competitive guy in the Draft,” he said. “He’s very intense.”

Even as a teenager, Bennett has drawn comparisons to his Kingston general manager Doug Gilmour, who recorded 450 goals and 964 assists (1,414 points) in a Hall of Fame career that spanned 1,474 games over 20 years. Gilmour, a player who was relatively small in stature but earned the nickname “Killer” for his competitive on-ice edge, wore No. 93 in the NHL; with Gilmour’s blessing, Bennett dons the same number for the Frontenacs.

“[Bennett] is just a guy that loves to compete. He’s a tough guy to play against,” MacDonald said. “When you meet him and talk to him in person, he’s exactly what you’d expect him to be after watching him play.”

Measuring in at 6 feet tall and 178 pounds, Bennett is a bit heftier than Gilmour was as a teenager, but he plays with that same fiery on-ice demeanor. Bennett, who said his upper-body strength is something he’s looking to improve, registered 87 penalty minutes in 2012-13 and 118 penalty minutes last season, both ranking second on his team.

“He’s such a determined, gritty guy who never takes a shift off,” MacDonald said.

Even as the No. 1 ranked North American skater, Bennett isn’t the consensus No. 1 pick come June 27. He will, of course, be in the conversation with perhaps as many as four other prospects.

And if he somehow slipped out of the top five, the Canes would likely be more than happy to snag him if given the chance.



SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 NYI 47 32 14 1 155 130 65
2 DET 48 28 11 9 144 123 65
3 TBL 49 30 15 4 158 131 64
4 MTL 46 30 13 3 126 108 63
5 PIT 47 27 12 8 143 120 62
6 NYR 45 27 14 4 135 110 58
7 WSH 47 24 14 9 140 124 57
8 BOS 48 25 16 7 126 121 57
9 FLA 45 20 15 10 111 127 50
10 OTT 46 19 18 9 126 128 47
11 TOR 48 22 23 3 142 150 47
12 PHI 49 20 22 7 134 149 47
13 CBJ 46 21 22 3 117 145 45
14 NJD 47 17 22 8 107 134 42
15 CAR 47 17 25 5 102 122 39
16 BUF 47 14 30 3 89 167 31

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 42 16 14 -6 30
J. Faulk 47 9 19 -13 28
E. Lindholm 47 9 11 -11 20
J. Tlusty 40 12 7 -11 19
J. Skinner 42 10 9 -7 19
R. Nash 47 7 12 -4 19
N. Gerbe 43 5 13 -3 18
V. Rask 47 6 9 -10 15
A. Sekera 45 1 14 -6 15
C. Terry 34 6 3 -3 9
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Khudobin 6 8 2 .918 2.30
C. Ward 11 17 3 .911 2.45