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Draft Profile: Sam Bennett

Friday, 06.13.2014 / 10:00 AM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
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Draft Profile: Sam Bennett
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 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Skinner 82 28 23 -2 51
V. Rask 80 21 27 -6 48
J. Staal 82 20 28 6 48
E. Lindholm 82 11 28 -23 39
J. Faulk 64 16 21 -22 37
J. Nordstrom 71 10 14 1 24
A. Nestrasil 55 9 14 4 23
R. Nash 64 9 13 -5 22
N. Hanifin 79 4 18 -14 22
J. Slavin 63 2 18 1 20
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 23 17 10 .909 2.41
E. Lack 12 14 6 .901 2.81