This summer time, defenseman Michael Benning had the chance to broaden his horizons internationally. The Sherwood Park Crusaders blueliner and 2020 NHL draft prospect was a part of Workforce AJHL, an all-star assortment of gamers from the Alberta Jr. A League that participated within the Junior Membership World Cup in Sochi, Russia. The hockey was nice and Workforce AJHL earned silver, shedding to Loko Yaroslavl within the last. Consuming out in a city the place most people don’t communicate English? That was one other matter.
Benning recalled one journey the place he and a few teammates went to a restaurant that, unbeknownst to them, charged by the burden of the meals as a substitute of the gadgets themselves.
“Our meals had been like, $50 Canadian every,” he stated. “It was an expertise, for certain.”
Restaurant debacles apart, Benning’s draft 12 months is off to an incredible begin. The sensible and fearless Crusader is the top-scoring defenseman within the AJHL proper now with 31 factors in 21 video games, seven factors away from his closest competitor. Sherwood Park is 19-2-Zero, with excessive expectations for the season. And, Benning will get to play alongside his buddy Carter Savoie, a high-scoring left winger and 2020 NHL draft prospect who’s dedicated to the College of Denver, identical to Benning.
“It’s good to have your greatest pal alongside for all these experiences,” Benning stated. “It’s been wild, rising up collectively and now we’re in junior, heading to varsity.”
As Benning will get stronger, he’ll be an much more efficient defenseman: proper now if he loses a battle, it’s as a result of he has been outpositioned, not outsmarted. With Sherwood Park, he has an ideal useful resource in affiliate coach and former NHL blueliner Jeff Woywitka.
“It’s clearly an ideal device to have him,” Benning stated. “Jeff teaches you belongings you don’t take into consideration. He pushes us lots in our improvement, which is actually useful.”
And if the teenager wants any additional recommendation, he can merely flip to any certainly one of his quite a few relations with NHL expertise: uncle Jim Benning is the GM of the Vancouver Canucks, father Brian Benning performed within the league for a decade and older brother Matt patrols the blueline for the Edmonton Oilers, who play simply 20 minutes away from the suburban Sherwood Park. Meaning loads of time for recommendation, but in addition tickets to video games for Michael.
“It’s not unhealthy watching Connor (McDavid), both,” Benning stated with a smile.
With such a excessive ceiling, it wouldn’t be shocking to see Michael on the ice at Rogers Enviornment in just a few years, both.
Listed below are another 2020 draft prospects making noise proper now:
1. Alexander Holtz, RW, Djurgarden (SHL): With six factors in 15 video games, Holtz is among the prime junior-aged scorers within the SHL. Extra importantly, nonetheless, is that he’s enjoying on Djurgarden’s first line with former NHLer Patrik Berglund as his heart.
2. Ryan O’Rourke, D, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL): It’s fairly spectacular when a 17-year-old is called captain and that’s what O’Rourke has earned within the Soo. With 12 factors in 15 video games, the robust blueliner can also be contributing at each ends.
Three. Tim Stutzle, C, Adler Mannheim (DEL): Get excited for the following German draft star. Stutzle ranks fourth with 15 factors in 17 video games for Mannheim and the three gamers forward of him are all former NHLers. Stutzle performs a talented and tenacious recreation.
Four. Dawson Mercer, RW, Drummondville Voltigeurs (QMJHL): Mercer made an announcement in Recreation 1 of the CHL-Russia collection with two factors for the ‘Q’ in a Four-Three loss. However the Volts star has been buzzing all season with 31 factors in 19 video games.
5. Tyson Foerster, C, Barrie Colts (OHL): One of many huge early surprises, Foerster has rung up 26 factors in 16 video games for the Colts, placing him top-10 in OHL scoring. He’s been enjoying on a giant line with Ryan Suzuki (CAR) and Matej Pekar (BUF), although Suzuki is now damage.
6. Danil Gushchin, RW, Muskegon Lumberjacks (USHL): Gushchin had all 4 objectives in an extra time win over Waterloo on the weekend and although the Russian import was quieter the following evening towards Youngstown, I actually appreciated his puckhandling and safety abilities. He’s bought 14 factors in 10 video games.
7. Seth Jarvis, RW, Portland Winterhawks (WHL): A proficient producer who can damage you in all conditions, Jarvis is as much as 21 factors in 15 video games, good for top-10 within the ‘Dub.’ He had a pleasant Hlinka-Gretzky tourney for Canada, too.
eight. Kaiden Guhle, D, Prince Albert Raiders (WHL): With three factors in his previous two video games, Guhle is beginning to warmth up and his offense is already method forward of final 12 months’s tempo. Together with his measurement and skating potential, that makes for some severe potential.
9. Samuel Hlavaj, G, Sherbrooke Phoenix (QMJHL): I’m very intrigued by Hlavaj, who was handed over within the 2019 draft. The large Slovakian import was very uncooked final 12 months with USHL Lincoln, however this season he’s been among the finest netminders within the ‘Q’ with a .921 save share and a couple of.14 goals-against common.
10. Kasper Simontaival, RW, Tappara (Fin.): A smaller participant with an ideal shot and fast fingers, Simontaival has already performed a recreation within the Liiga this 12 months however has accomplished most of his harm in Finland’s junior league the place he has 19 factors in 21 video games.
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Tags: prospects, prospect have to know, nhl draftConnect: Concerning the AuthorRyan KennedyRyan Kennedy is the affiliate senior author and draft/prospect professional at The Hockey Information. He has been with the publication since 2005 and in that span, Don Cherry, Lil Jon and The Rock have all known as his home. He lives in Toronto along with his spouse and children the place he listens to loud music and collects NCAA pennants.