Tracking the Storm

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
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 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 77 23 31 -13 54
J. Faulk 82 15 34 -19 49
E. Lindholm 81 17 22 -23 39
V. Rask 80 11 22 -14 33
J. Skinner 77 18 13 -24 31
N. Gerbe 78 10 18 -14 28
R. Nash 68 8 17 -10 25
J. Staal 46 6 18 -6 24
J. Liles 57 2 20 -9 22
J. McClement 82 7 14 -7 21
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 22 24 5 .910 2.40
A. Khudobin 8 17 6 .900 2.72