Getting to know Sam Bennett

Jason Gregor
April 25 2014 10:18AM

sam-bennett

Sam Bennett will turn 18 one week before the 2014 NHL entry draft. His belated birthday present to himself will be hearing his name called early in the draft, most likely within the top five picks. Bennett told me is 6'1" and 180 pounds, and that he plans to add between 5-10 pounds this summer before he heads to an NHL camp.

I spoke with Bennett yesterday and we discussed his feisty, two-way game, Aaron Ekblad and why he feels more comfortable playing centre rather than on the wing.

Bennett is very determined to be an NHL player, and whichever team drafts him, they will be getting an extremely competitive player.

Gregor:  How would you describe your game?

Bennett: A two-way forward who isn’t afraid to lay the body and get involved in the chippy stuff as well as being able to create some offense and put the puck in the net.

Gregor:  Your general manager is Doug Gilmour and a lot of people say ‘this guy is kind of like Doug Gilmour’ and for a current NHLer some suggest Jonathan Toews. Do you see a comparison at all?

Bennett: Ah, yeah, well I don’t know if I can say a comparison, but I can definitely say that I try to model my game off of them. They’re definitely unbelievable players, and they’re definitely guys that I’ve looked up to in the past. If people are comparing me to those guys, that’s definitely really special.

FEISTY...

gilmore510

Gregor:  Has Doug talked to you about your game because he was a pretty ferocious player who was highly competitive. He wasn’t the biggest guy on the ice, but he battled really hard. Have you had those conversations with him?

Bennett: We haven’t talked too much about my style of play but he’s definitely, he’s definitely been there for me. If I needed advice on something or if I need help with anything I could just go to him and talk to him and he has so much experience and when he gives advice it definitely helps a lot.

Gregor:  I saw you throw down in a really spirited scrap as a 17 year old in junior, something not many skilled guys are willing to do. Where does that feistiness come from, have you always had that in your game?

Bennett: Yeah, ever since I was growing up, I always used to play with the physical edge and always loved to initiate and I never back away from anything. I think that that’s just something that I had my whole life and I’m going to continue to do it.

Gregor:  Do teams try to take advantage of that? Do you find that they try to goad you into things?

Bennett: Ah, yeah. I did a few times. I do have a tendency to get a little bit too excited and, sometimes I lose my composure and I guess teams will try to get under my skin a little bit. But that’s going to happen, and I just have to know when to initiate and when to settle down and do what’s best for my team.

Gregor:  It’s a fine line isn’t it Sam; you want to be a guy that plays with an edge, and if you play that way every now and then you’re likely going to cross that line.

Bennett: Yeah, for sure. Definitely Todd Gills has been working with me on that this year and there is definitely a really fine line between playing with an edge and crossing the line.

Gregor:  What is your workout schedule like between now and the draft?

Bennett: I’m still resting right now. I’m going to start up with my trainer Andy O’Brien sometime next week and just go to work five times a week as hard as I can and try to get ready for the Combine at the end May and get ready for next season.

Gregor:  So you’re working out five times a day and you’re still finishing up High School?

Bennett: I’m still finishing up High School so it is pretty hectic right now, but once I’m done that it’s a little easier in the summer.

Gregor:  You got any classes you enjoy in High School? What’s your favourite ?

Bennett: Ah…. Probably gym class. [Laughs] For most hockey players that’s their favourite class.

Gregor:  Do you have a tutor in Kingston?

Bennett: I didn’t have one in Kingston, no, but there was definitely one available if I needed one. but we had great support on the ice as well as off of the ice. Education, development and we had a bunch of people supporting us in any aspects of our life really

Gregor:  You’re a 17 year old player leading his team in scoring; there is a lot of pressure and a lot of responsibility. Are you a guy that’s a leader naturally?

Bennett: Yeah, I’d like to think so. I guess I’m not one of the older guys on the team, but still I always try to lead by example more than anything on the ice as well as off of the ice. So, that’s actually something that I’ve always played with and I always try to be as much of a leader as I can.

Gregor:  Who was your biggest personal rival in the Ontario Hockey League this year?

Bennett: Ah… I’d say Scott Laughton from the Oshawa Generals. We had one pretty good scrap this year and every time we’ve played it’s been pretty frisky that’s for sure.

Gregor:  Are you better when you’re emotionally involved in a game?

Bennett: Yeah, I think so. I say that there is a line again, if I get too emotionally involved it will throw me off of my game, but if I’m in the game and I’m hitting and I’m getting in the dirty areas that’s definitely when I’m playing my best.

Gregor:  What do you want to improve this off season as far as your physical attributes? Is there one area that you want to focus on that will make you better on the ice?

Bennett: Well definitely I need to get a little bit bigger, a little bit stronger in every aspect but I’d say that one thing that I would be looking to improve is definitely leg strength. That will allow me to be able to battle in the corners and hold my balance. You never know where I will be playing next year, there could be a lot bigger guys so I’ll definitely have to be prepared for anything.

Gregor:  What do you do away from hockey so you’re not hockey all of the time, what are some of your hobbies?

Bennett: Well, in the summer I have a cottage up in Haliburton [Ontario] and I like to get up there and water ski and go fishing and I love all of that stuff, so I definitely try to get up there a few times each summer and just get away from it for a while.

Gregor:  What’s the biggest fish you ever caught?

Bennett: Ah… probably 10 pounds.

Gregor:  Ok, not bad.

Bennett: I’m not ot a pro fisher.

Gregor: No, but you’re young man. You’ve got a lot of time. Tell me about Todd Gill as a head coach, what made him good?

Bennett: He’s got the experience. He played many years in the NHL so he was a great, great coach and he knew when to be hard on you and when to let off a little. So he definitely was always there to give good advice and he was a great coach for us.

TWO-WAY PLAYER

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Gregor:  You described yourself as a two-way player, not many young offensive players are concerned with being good defensive players. Where did that willingness to want to be a great two-way player come from?

Bennett: Well, again, always growing up I wasn’t all offense. I was always looking after the defensive zone as well. So to play in the NHL, which is obviously the ultimate goal, you can’t just be one dimensional, you’ve got to be able to play the full 200 foot game, so that’s definitely part of the game that I’ve always been working on.

Gregor:  What is the hardest part about playing defence?

Bennett: I’d say when you’re trapped in your own end for a little and the other team has the cycle going and you’re bagged from being in the offensive zone, and now you’ve got to come in and work as hard as you can in the defensive zone. That’s definitely when it gets a little tough.

Gregor:  Do you feel you’re more of a shooter or a play maker?

Bennett: Ah, I’d like to think that I’m more of a play maker, but I’m also not afraid to shoot the puck as well.

Gregor:  Did you play the point in the power point at all in Kingston?

Bennett: I tried it for a while, but it didn’t really work out too well, so we went back to just leaving me on the half wall.

Gregor:  What was it that didn’t work out?

Bennett: I don’t know. Maybe it was just that I wasn’t as comfortable there as I am on the half wall. I’ve never really played that part of the game, so it was a little different for me being up there, but Todd Gill and the other part of our coaching staff definitely helped to figure out what worked best for our team.

Gregor:  How do you look at the overall, long term success of your career, do you think that the NHL is the best step for you at this point?

Bennett: Ah, well.. Obviously it is going to be this goal my summer to work as hard as I can to be able to make that team in September, but you know… whatever happens, whatever the NHL team decides to do is going to be fine with me. If they decide to send me back to Junior, I’m going to work as hard as I can to get ready for the next step to be able to move up.

Gregor:  Do you find yourself looking at the draft order and doing a mock draft thinking ‘hey I think that this team might take this guy, I think that this team might take this guy and they might take me?

Bennett: Yeah, I have done that a little bit maybe. I say when the draft lottery came out and we knew for sure who was picking where, you definitely start to think about who is going to take who and it goes through your head a little bit.

Gregor:  Did you ever see yourself being taken by the Edmonton Oilers?

Bennett: [Laughs] You never know, it could happen.

Gregor:  You’ve played about Ekblad give me your scouting report, what’s the best part of Ekblad’s game?

Bennett: He’s a great player. I’ve played with him for a while now and he’s unbelievably strong and he’s definitely got one of the hardest shots that I’ve ever seen. When he has it on the point, you’ve got to get in the shooting lanes, or it’s probably going to end up in the back of the net for sure.

Gregor:  Have you played only centre, or do you switch between centre and wing this year?

Bennett: Not this year. I did it a little bit before, but I’d say I’ve mostly played centre this year. I am comfortable on the wing, it’s just wherever the coach wants me to play, and that’s where I’ll play.

Gregor:  What do you like better about centre than the wing?

Bennett: I’d say you get more ice, you get more room, you’re not trapped up along the sideboards and you definitely can generate more speed up the middle.

WRAP UP....

Bennett is an offensive player who takes pride in his defensive play, which is rare for most 17 year olds. Everyone loves his competitiveness and drive. He wants the puck and he isn't afraid to go into the tough areas with it. I love the fact that he has skill, but also plays with some passion, and admits that at times his fire gets the best of him. He'll work on it, but I'd rather have a player you need to calm down than one you need to constantly prod to get inspired.

The one concern about Bennett is his size. Ross Maclean, head scout for ISS hockey said, "The one concern with Bennett is his frame. Winning space at the next level is very difficult."

A concern doesn't mean it is a red flag. Every player has some concerns about their game, but most scouts feel Bennett's internal fire and drive will make him a successful NHL player.

KARAOKE KING/QUEEN

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Our 2nd annual King/Queen of Karaoke goes on Friday May 23rd.

If you think you can sing, or know someone who can get them to email a short 30 second-1 minute video audition tape to gregor@tsn1260.ca before May 15th. We will pick the top-12 videos, and they along with a few guest celebrity Karaokiers will battle it out on May 23rd.

This year's winner will win $1,000.

Last year was a great night and the performances were top notch, and the odd one was a tad off key, Struds, but it was a great night.

Tickets are $30/each with 100% of the proceeds going to the MS Bike Tour, and with your $30 ticket you get  a free drink at the door and $45 in gift certificates from On The Rocks and Oodle Noodle. So you make money by supporting the cause. You can buy your tickets here.

Recently by Jason Gregor:

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#1 RexHolez
April 25 2014, 03:07PM
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Bennet is the obvious choice. He deserves a better team then the oilers tho

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#2 Total Points
April 25 2014, 12:11PM
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The Oilers should trade the 1st round pick for a NHL player.

Oilers have proved that their first round picks are not ready to play NHL hockey for 2 to 4 years. Why would Bennett or whoever be any different

Last year RNH struggled (got injured playing against men), Yak had a very poor season, Eberle was so so, Shultz struggled. The only one who played well was Hall (still at a minus).

If Bennett or whoever they select make the team the Oilers will once again be at the bottom.

Oilers should help the young players that they already have with veterans. If the Oilers don't start winning in the next year or so the existing young guys, Hall, Eberle, Yak, TNH, Shultz will want out.

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#3 Take this kid
April 25 2014, 10:50AM
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How do they not take this kid if he is available?

Only Oilers management would be dumb enough to pass on a player whos biggest knock is he trys to hard.

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#4 Young Oil
April 25 2014, 10:57AM
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No matter who the Oilers choose, they are going to get a great player.

The thing that concerns me the most about Bennett besides his frame is the PIM total. So many people look at the PIM total and say "Oh, he must be a great, gritty player", but to me that just screams indiscipline. Sure, he is still learning the game and what he can get away with, but remember how frustrated we all were in the last 10 games or so when Perron was consistently taking stupid penalties at bad times? Then, on the other hand, a guy like Ryan O'Reilly can play a gritty, physical game all year and only get one penalty. Penalty minutes are not a good measure of good, smart physical play.

Now, I'm sure Bennett is going to be a great, gritty player in the NHL, and I don't mean to put him down, it's just my opinion.

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#5 pelhem grenville
April 25 2014, 04:47PM
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Draisaitl is the center we have wanted for over a decade...nuff said

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#6 Arius Mumin
April 25 2014, 07:41PM
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Two quick rumours;

1.) The Edmonton Oilers are trading their 1st round pick. The pick will be traded on the Draft floor.

1.) M. St Louis demanded a trade from Tampa Bay for the same reason that T. Hall was left from Team Canada Olympic team-S Crosby has more pull than some executives on the board: Kunitz.

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#7 Young Oil
April 25 2014, 11:11AM
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Also, just one more note, I'd like people if they can to take a look at the highlight packages of Bennett and Draisaitl:

Bennett: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=svCdZiNfbvg

Draisaitl: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VkR-F14cK1Y

I may be biased, but to me Bennett uses his speed and takes advantage of poor defensive coverage to get the majority of his offense. While this is a great asset to have, it is already a lot of what the Oilers have.

Watching the Draisaitl package, you can see that he has so much of what the Oilers are lacking. He is able to protect the puck so well, and is an incredible passer. He would pair incredibly well with Yakupov, and to me that is a major factor as well.

There are many saying that Draisaitl is too soft, or not a big game player, but they have clearly not seen him play on a consistent basis. While he did poorly in the WJC with a poor team, he scored 45 points in his final 21 games while his team was fighting for a playoff spot. The next highest scoring forward on his team had 44 less points than him over the course of the season.

While he is not overly physical, he can still hit when he needs to:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WG8-A1b2dRQ

and if you watch the highlight package, you can see just how incredibly well he uses his body, it is completely distinct from anyone else the Oilers are playing today.

Let me be clear again, I would be incredibly happy if they drafted Bennett, but to me Draisaitl is the center we have wanted for over a decade.

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#8 Quicksilver ballet
April 25 2014, 04:09PM
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Zarny wrote:

Once again, who said anything about bringing in a band-aid type solution? You clearly don't understand the value of a 3rd overall pick if you think the return is a band-aid.

And no, no team has won the Stanley Cup being anchored around 20 y/o.

The closest is probably the Pens in 2009. Sid, Malkin, Staal, Letang, Fleury, Goligoski and Talbot were young. Every other player was 27 y/o + and the D core was anchored by 30-36 y/o.

In 2006, the Hurricanes won with Brind'Amour (35), Stillman (32), Whitney (33), Cole (27), Cullen (29), Recchi (37), Weight (35) and Wesley (37). Craig Adams (28) and Kevyn Adams (31). Staal (21) and Ward (21) were the only real young contributors.

In 2007, Ana was led by Selanne (36), McDonald (29), Niedermayer (33), Kunitz (26), Pronger (31), Beauchemin (26), Pahlsson (28), Marchant (33). Getzlaf (21), Penner (23) and Perry (21) were the only young contributors.

In 2008, Detroit was led by Datsyuk (29), Zetterberg (26), Lidstrom (37), Rafalski (33), Cleary (28), Holmstrom (34), Samuelsson (30), Franzen (27), Kronwall (26), Stuart (27), Maltby (34) and Draper (36). Hudler (23) and Filppula were the only young contributors.

In 2010, Chi won their 1st Cup with Keith (26), Seabrook (25), Hossa (31), Sharp (28), Sopel (33), Campbell (31), Byfuglien (25), Boynton (31), Versteeg (24), Brower (24), Ladd (24) and Eager (24). Toews (22), Kane (21) and Bolland (23) were the only contributors under 24.

In 2011, Bos won with Thomas (36), Krejci (24), Bergeron (25), Horton (25), Recchi (42), Chara (33), Ryder (30), Seidenberg (29), Thornton (33), Boychuk (26) and Ference (31). Lucic (22), Marchand (22) and Seguin (18) were the only young contributors and Seguin didn't do much outside of 3 games.

In 2012, LA won with Kopitar (24), Williams (29), Brown (26), Richards (26), Carter (26), Johnson (24), Mitchell (34), Stoll (29), Gagne (31), Penner (28), Greene (28), Scuderi (32) and Quick (25). Doughty (21) and Voynov (21) were the only contributors under 24.

And last Chi won with a very similar group to 2010...except they were all older.

You can win with 2-3 young players IF the rest of your core is 24+. If the Oilers stay the course that's 4-5 years away.

I'm humbled you would go through all that work to combat my point Zarny. Maybe I should've mentioned before, this isn't a discussion, you won't deter me. I do not approve of your methods of sacrificing the future for players other teams are willing to give up on for one reason or another. Resistance is futile my friend. Adding 18 yr olds is the lifeblood of this league, and especially the Oilers desperate to regain respectability.

All the earmarks are there for a elongated rebuild (if we have to go young, we go young). What's already in place hasn't had the impact they had hoped. Rebuilding from within (adding 18 yr olds) will continue for alteast another couple entry drafts. If anything, maybe you're not putting enough future value in that 3rd selection (what they're trying to do here). If you look at it from the prospective that every seat is sold for next season or three anyways. It makes sense. The ticket buyers fully support an extended rebuild, and making that 3rd selection. If they need more time, they need more time. It's not as though Katz is going to fire them all.

I win Zarny, can I do my happy dance now, sir?

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#9 Quicksilver ballet
April 25 2014, 12:26PM
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@Total Points

Edmonton is a bottom six team next season no matter what happens.

Please, just stop all this trading 100.00 bills for 4 twenties. Haven't we had more than our share of this these last 20 years....

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#10 A-Mc
April 25 2014, 12:37PM
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I like what Bennett could bring to the team, but as far as I'm concerned, small/avg sized skilled forwards (Even gritty ones) are much easier to get than a skilled BIG forward.

I think Draisaitl is still my #1 choice for the Mighty Oil at this years draft.

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#11 Zarny
April 25 2014, 01:59PM
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Bucknuck wrote:

Boy that Mackinnon really looked out of place this year... and that team is at the bot- oh wait. Nevermind.

Not a single kid in this year's draft is considered to be as good as MacKinnon.

In fact, not a single kid in this year's draft would have been taken in the top 5 last year.

Not all draft years are the same and this is a weak draft year.

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#12 Quicksilver ballet
April 25 2014, 12:08PM
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Sell the farm and get both Bennett and Draisaitl.

It's not like we can't use both of these kids.

Purchasing that 4th/6th selection will be more affordable than say the top 2 selections would.

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#13 Zarny
April 25 2014, 12:53PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Sell the farm and get both Bennett and Draisaitl.

It's not like we can't use both of these kids.

Purchasing that 4th/6th selection will be more affordable than say the top 2 selections would.

There is nothing special about Bennett or Draisaitl compared to Nuge or Yakupov. Neither would be a top 5 pick in most draft years.

What on earth makes you think adding more 18 y/o will do anything but perpetuate losing? Why would the Oilers double down on a weak draft year? What are you going to do when Draisaitl still doesn't put up more than 35 pts in 3 years?

Trading the pick isn't exchanging $100 bills or four $20. That's silly to suggest.

Who would you rather have? Cory Schneider or Bo Horvat?

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#14 TKB2677
April 25 2014, 04:58PM
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What's easier to get? Small, skilled center that "tries hard" or big skilled center?

The Oilers have a small, skilled center that "tries hard" right now that they may end up basically giving away in Gagner to get him off the team.

How many big, skilled centers are either traded or move around the league? Not many. I can think of Carter but I don't even think he plays center in LA and Jordan Staal was traded to Carolina. That's all I can think of in the last 5 years. Staal makes 6 mill and is WAY overpriced for what he produces.

The majority of the big, skilled centers are drafted and stay on their team for a long, long time. If the Oilers have a chance to draft a big, skilled center, I think they HAVE to take him. Even if on paper right now, the scouts say Bennett or Reinhart is "better" they'd be crazy to pass on him.

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#15 Zarny
April 25 2014, 10:50AM
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Bennett is the C I'd draft this year if the Oilers can't trade the pick and Ekblad is off the board.

This year's draft is similar to 2006. No one is considered exceptional like a Crosby, Stamkos or Doughty. Erik Johnson was clearly the best D in the draft like Ekblad but took 6 years to develop. There was no clear cut best F. Staal, Toews, Backstrom, Kessel, Brassard and Okposo are all very good but all took a few years to develop.

And when you look at the top 2 in Staal and Toews it has been everything outside their offensive game that sets them apart.

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#16 TKB2677
April 25 2014, 12:35PM
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What was Nuge when he was drafted? 6'1, 175? So Bennett is 6'1, 180lbs in his draft year. Nuge will probably top out at maybe 190lbs if he is lucky. So it's safe to assume that Bennett might top out at 195 if he is lucky in 3 years.

As much as I like the feisty aspect to his game, don't the Oilers already have enough top 6 guys that only reach over 200lbs if they are holding a 15-20lb bag of flour?

Like it or not, if you look at the line ups of all the top teams, not one of them have as many top 6 players under 200lbs as the Oilers do. So like it or not, the last thing the Oilers need is another top 6 player that tops out at under 200lbs.

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#17 Woogie63
April 25 2014, 02:03PM
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If we pick Bennet who gets number 93?

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#18 rhino15
April 25 2014, 11:44AM
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Doug Gilmour v2.0 is exactly what this team needs. Someone chippy who wears his heart on his sleeve. Defensively responsible, willing to battle for space and never backs down.

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#19 Don
April 25 2014, 12:14PM
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Gregor,

I don't always agree with you, but I very much appreciate your interviewing skills. You always ask great questions and usually one I want an answer to and many I never think about. Another great interview.

I'd take Draisaitl because we need skilled, size, but Bennett seems like an excellent 2nd option.

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#20 Ed in Edmonton
April 25 2014, 12:36PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Edmonton is a bottom six team next season no matter what happens.

Please, just stop all this trading 100.00 bills for 4 twenties. Haven't we had more than our share of this these last 20 years....

I would suggest that the better analogy might be do you trade $100 worth of stock options for $100 cash. If MacT can find the "right" deal that includes the draft pick he should do it.

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#21 ONTARIO OILERS FAN
April 25 2014, 02:25PM
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Zarny wrote:

Not a single kid in this year's draft is considered to be as good as MacKinnon.

In fact, not a single kid in this year's draft would have been taken in the top 5 last year.

Not all draft years are the same and this is a weak draft year.

Trade the pick... We need a top pairing D man for October.

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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Edmonton is a bottom six team next season no matter what happens.

Please, just stop all this trading 100.00 bills for 4 twenties. Haven't we had more than our share of this these last 20 years....

But... Move heaven and earth for more picks? Okaaaay

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#23 NJ
April 25 2014, 04:32PM
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Fact: IF Ekblad is available and if the Oilers pick him, then they will have admitted this is a long term rebuild. No D man in our organization is less than 3 years from being a #2ish d man unless you think Shultz is gonna get there in the next 2. Possible, but I'd suggest he's a 3/4 or a #2 beside Shea Weber (for example). In 5 years, we'll have a ridiculous defensive squad. But the years prior to that, unless MacT is bringing in help, we're screwed. Ekblad helps nothing.

However, most top 5 forwards take a year maybe 2 to develop to the point where they can play top 6 minutes effectively. If we manage to get some veteran help on this team by moving a part of our core, then that will help the development of the kids I would suggest that taking the centre, LD or SB IS the move for us. Also, building up the middle isn't EVER a bad thing. And God knows the pipeline is void of centres.

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#24 ONTARIO OILERS FAN
April 25 2014, 05:55PM
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Hearing that MacT is feeling teams for a star Dman i a trade for the #3 pick and maybe a good prospect. :0 :) :) :O

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#25 Quicksilver ballet
April 25 2014, 07:59PM
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@Ivan Drago

Please tell me who we already have that is even remotely close to the same compete level that Bennett has?

Compete is as important as size. Bennett>Draisaitl

Err on the side of caution and get both.

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#26 Zarny
April 25 2014, 11:25AM
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@Young Oil

What concerns me in Draisaitl's scouting report is that his tendency when he gets the puck is to slow down. That works for a select few players in the NHL.

If you look at the young players who are excelling over the last few years it's guys like Hall, Duchene and MacKinnon. Crosby is the same way.

Speed kills especially when you have the puck.

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#27 Vinotintazo
April 25 2014, 12:04PM
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I like both Bennett and Draisaitl, but Bennetts two way play is way more important that a playmaking center, Draisaitl is more of an offensive centre.

I'd take Bennet if he maxes out into Halls size. which is average.

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#28 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
April 25 2014, 01:11PM
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Take this kid wrote:

How do they not take this kid if he is available?

Only Oilers management would be dumb enough to pass on a player whos biggest knock is he trys to hard.

I'm not against drafting Bennett......but to your point.....what often happens to smaller players is that they are forced to "try too hard"....when trying to compete against larger men they get knocked around and injured. Sam Gagner is a typical example....he falls into that "tough for a little guy" category. Some will argue that he isn't small....but he gets bounced around like a rag doll.

The video that makes the rounds as proof that Bennett is tough actually disturbs me a little....yes he stands up to a larger guy in fighting Laughton.....but really...not so much...no real haymakers get thrown...at best it's a draw....but we want to use it as the example of "the smaller guy standing up for himself"

The things I like about Bennett are his truculence but more so he appears to be the best two way player of the bunch.....his +- is way better than the others. But let's not kid ourselves that he is at best a medium size player and will suffer more injuries as a result.

Another thing I like was mentioned earlier that some analysts rank him significantly better than Monahan.

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#30 Quicksilver ballet
April 25 2014, 05:01PM
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It was one year ago, we had a very similar 4 horse race (Jones,MacKinnon,Barkov,Druoin) heading to the entry draft. This year has much the same look going into it. Jones was a lock to go to Colorado with his prior history there.

Many have gone out of their way to claim, there are no Crosbys in this years draft (no wonder I can't find any Crystal Balls on Ebay, you guys have purchased them already). There may not be another Crosby, but maybe there's another Nathan MacKinnon.

Keep, and make the pick. And do all you can to get that 5th selection if Draisaitl is still available.

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#31 Quicksilver ballet
April 26 2014, 10:35AM
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kale wrote:

No Burke did not email me, but you seem to know what he wants at 4, Virtanen? , seriously give me a break, he has fallen so out of top five to even consider that is ridiculous.

I guess you're the only one qualified to predict the future here.

You certainly didn't get what you wanted for your 14th birthday party it appears.

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#32 Jerod
April 25 2014, 10:35AM
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Sounds like a good fit for the Oilers. MacT likes competitive guys willing to do anything to win, that is why they choose Nurse last year.

I read that Corey Pronman and Brock Otten ( OHL prospects) rank him a better prospect than Sean Monahan

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#33 Shredder
April 25 2014, 11:07AM
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Yakupov likes to get in the scrums, Perron instigates them...those two with Bennett could be pretty fun to watch after the whistle blows.

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#34 Young Oil
April 25 2014, 11:47AM
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Zarny wrote:

@Young Oil

What concerns me in Draisaitl's scouting report is that his tendency when he gets the puck is to slow down. That works for a select few players in the NHL.

If you look at the young players who are excelling over the last few years it's guys like Hall, Duchene and MacKinnon. Crosby is the same way.

Speed kills especially when you have the puck.

While this is true at times, it is part of him taking in the play, and he actually chooses what to do really well (look at 1:35 in the highlight package for example). He actually has pretty good speed (not as good as Bennett's though).

What people are also looking over is Draisaitl's development prior to coming to the WHL. Two seasons before coming to Canada, he put up 192 points in 29 games in his U-16 league. He was clearly not being challenged where he was playing, and that arguably took a couple years off of his development, and he has only had 2 years in the WHL to truly be challenged and develop against people his age who have his skill level. He is still growing into the player he is going to be, and learning to apply his skills to the North American game.

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#35 Bucknuck
April 25 2014, 12:26PM
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Total Points wrote:

The Oilers should trade the 1st round pick for a NHL player.

Oilers have proved that their first round picks are not ready to play NHL hockey for 2 to 4 years. Why would Bennett or whoever be any different

Last year RNH struggled (got injured playing against men), Yak had a very poor season, Eberle was so so, Shultz struggled. The only one who played well was Hall (still at a minus).

If Bennett or whoever they select make the team the Oilers will once again be at the bottom.

Oilers should help the young players that they already have with veterans. If the Oilers don't start winning in the next year or so the existing young guys, Hall, Eberle, Yak, TNH, Shultz will want out.

Boy that Mackinnon really looked out of place this year... and that team is at the bot- oh wait. Nevermind.

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#36 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
April 25 2014, 01:37PM
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Gordie Wayne wrote:

Draisaitl reminds me of Kopitar when you watch him and here is a description of Kopitar from his draft year:

"Kopitar has great size and is a solid skater but he lacks top-notch foot-speed. Is agile with great natural skills and a dominant offensive player. He sees the ice very well and is a tremendous playmaker who can control the tempo of the game. Very soft hands and a dangerous player in one-on-one situations, he creates space for himself and his teammates. He is poised with the puck with a great wrist shot that is hard and accurate. Has the ability to run the power play with ease. Uses his size well and is a strong player but has to work on his defensive zone coverage."

Very similar description to how the scouts currently describe Draisatl...

Can you imagine the Oilers with a Kopitar-like player...I can.

Kopitar is a guy who only takes around 20 PIMs a year - but no one would call him soft. Draisatl doesn't take many penalties either...

Oh, and I love that last sentence about Kopitar's defensive coverage, especially for a potential Selke winner today...don't believe everything the scouts say...

The following are quotes from scouts and analysts at nhl.com talking about Draisaitl.

"You want to talk about a miniature Jaromir Jagr with a Doug Gilmour-type intensity, you've got him right here," Central Scouting's Peter Sullivan told NHL.com.

"Leon is a great hockey player but also a great teammate," Tuomie said. "His skill level is unbelievable. He thinks the game very well and makes players around him look better."

"That kid works so hard every shift," Bordeleau said. "I don't see how this kid doesn't go early. There's no one in this draft class who can protect the puck like him."

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#37 ONTARIO OILERS FAN
April 25 2014, 02:19PM
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Yeah... Like drafting Bennett or Ekblad will bring immediate changes within this current mismanaged team. Just ask Yakupov or Eberle. I can see the Cup parade on Whyte Ave all the way from Ontario.

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#38 Total Points
April 25 2014, 02:30PM
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Zarny wrote:

Not a single kid in this year's draft is considered to be as good as MacKinnon.

In fact, not a single kid in this year's draft would have been taken in the top 5 last year.

Not all draft years are the same and this is a weak draft year.

That is why the Oilers should trade the draft pick for NHL veterans who can help now.

Oiler fans are obsessed with acquiring skilled draft picks and bringing them into the line up too quickly. And then we wonder why the OIL don't progress as a team.

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#39 Zarny
April 25 2014, 02:37PM
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@ Total Points and ONTARIO OILERS FAN

Don't worry.

I'm President of the "Trade The Pick" club.

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#40 vetinari
April 25 2014, 10:24AM
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Would love to see this kid playing next to a guy like Perron on the second line... wouldn't they just be aggravating together?

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#41 Wonger
April 25 2014, 10:39AM
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OK, I'm sold on this kid!!! Pass on Nick Ritchie - choose BENNETT if EKBLAD is gone!!!

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#42 The Beaker
April 25 2014, 11:00AM
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Young Oil wrote:

No matter who the Oilers choose, they are going to get a great player.

The thing that concerns me the most about Bennett besides his frame is the PIM total. So many people look at the PIM total and say "Oh, he must be a great, gritty player", but to me that just screams indiscipline. Sure, he is still learning the game and what he can get away with, but remember how frustrated we all were in the last 10 games or so when Perron was consistently taking stupid penalties at bad times? Then, on the other hand, a guy like Ryan O'Reilly can play a gritty, physical game all year and only get one penalty. Penalty minutes are not a good measure of good, smart physical play.

Now, I'm sure Bennett is going to be a great, gritty player in the NHL, and I don't mean to put him down, it's just my opinion.

Perron lead the league in minors this year if im not mistaken. Walking the edge that will happen. Theres a difference between stepping over the edge occasionally and just being stupid.

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#43 Bucknuck
April 25 2014, 12:42PM
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At third the Oil will get one of Draisaitl, Bennett, Ekblad or Reinhart. I don't think they can lose.

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#44 Quicksilver ballet
April 25 2014, 01:31PM
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@Zarny

If you're looking to barely make the playoffs and be first round road kill then maybe overpaying to bring in a bandaid type solution might be an option.

Stay the course, rebuild from within. Sooner or later there will be a group gel together. Contrary to your belief Zarny, players less than 24 yrs of age have won the cup before. The Oilers will soon have some of their kids in that preferred demographic of yours.

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#45 ONTARIO OILERS FAN
April 25 2014, 02:23PM
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Message to MacT: Fire the assistant coaches now! Promote Todd Nelson as an assistant and approach Barry Trotz as an associate coach for Dallas Eakins.

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#46 big slick
April 25 2014, 03:52PM
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Some good options this year at #3. But then I vote trade that 1st round pick 2015 for whatever we don't get this year (center or defenseman who is NHL ready). Keep the pick if it is not a top 2 center or top 2 defenseman.

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#47 Rama Lama
April 25 2014, 05:13PM
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Bennett is only 17..........I gained most of my weight after 17. This guy has fire in his belly and we need to draft him.

Forget Drisiatle, or Sam Reinhart as we already have these types of players. Ekblad will not make it to number three so we take Sam and then trade the other Sam.

Thats the plan everyone Okay?

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#48 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
April 25 2014, 05:20PM
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Drafts are tricky things.....we are not smarter than the other guys...so other teams probably covet what we covet....it may not be likely probability wise....but it's not out of the question that the bigger guys Ekblad and Draisaitl go one two.

But as many people have pointed out....the Oilers are going to get something they need no matter which order they go in.

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#49 Ivan Drago
April 25 2014, 07:52PM
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Rama Lama wrote:

Bennett is only 17..........I gained most of my weight after 17. This guy has fire in his belly and we need to draft him.

Forget Drisiatle, or Sam Reinhart as we already have these types of players. Ekblad will not make it to number three so we take Sam and then trade the other Sam.

Thats the plan everyone Okay?

Please tell me who we already have that is even remotely close to the type of player that Draisaitl is or could be?

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#50 Quicksilver ballet
April 25 2014, 08:43PM
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@kale

Burke wants truculence. Not a lot of that in Draisaitl. I see Leon falling to five, a pick that might be available from the Islanders/Sabres.

Burke will take either of Virtanen,Dal Colle or Ritchie. They're more the grit Calgary's looking for.

There's some separation from that 1/2/3 group, and the rest of this crop.

Did Burke email you personally to tell you what they're going to do? Or are you flying by the seat of your pants just guessing again?

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