Bennett, a native of Holland Landing, Ont., had 91 points this past season for the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs, where he played for ex-Flames centre Doug Gilmour. The six-foot 178-pounder was named OHL player of the year this past season. He’s seen as a high-energy player with skills in all areas of the ice.
Bennett has elite talent, but his lack of size and his failure to do even one pull-up at the scouting combine means he may be one year away from playing in the NHL. He will get his nine-game tryout, after which his new team will decide to either keep him in the NHL or return him to Kingston for one more year of junior hockey. Either way, he’ll be in the NHL by 2015-16 at the latest.
At his top potential, Bennett is an All-Star, first-line center who can top out at 90-95 points. He could become a team captain down the road and a regular at the NHL Awards and All-Star Game.
Bennett can score 30-35 goals a year with his hockey smarts and his habit of keeping his stick on the ice. His vision and playmaking skills mean he is capable of 50-60 assists as well. He should be one of those players who makes his linemates better.
Here is how the Flames picked the rest of the 2014 draft:
|Round||Pick||Overall Pick||Team||Player Drafted||Position||Nationality||Height||Weight||League||Hometown|
|1||4||4||CGY||SAMUEL BENNETT||C||CAN||6′ 0″||178||OHL||KINGSTON|
|2||4||34||CGY||MASON MCDONALD||G||CAN||6′ 4″||178||QMJHL||CHARLOTTETOWN|
|2||24||54||CGY||HUNTER SMITH||RW||CAN||6′ 6″||208||OHL||OSHAWA|
|3||4||64||CGY||BRANDON HICKEY||D||CAN||6′ 1″||177||AJHL||SPRUCE GROVE|
|6||25||175||CGY||ADAM OLLAS MATTSSON||D||SWE||6′ 4″||209||SWEDEN-JR.||DJURGARDEN JR.|
|7||4||184||CGY||AUSTIN CARROLL||RW||CAN||6′ 3″||216||WHL||VICTORIA|