Tuesday, August 10, 2010

NHL.com: Beau Bennett Stands Out At USA Camp

(above) DU incoming Freshman Beau Bennett led Team USA with six assists at the National Evaluation Camp last week

From: NHL.com
by Jason Seidling

Penguins’ 2010 first-round draft pick Beau Bennett turned plenty of heads last week thanks to a great showing at USA Hockey’s National Junior Evaluation Camp in Lake Placid, N.Y.

Bennett, whom the Penguins selected with the 20th overall selection in June, finished the four-game exhibition series between the Americans, Sweden and Finland with a team-leading six assists in four games. He notched two assists on Saturday in the United States’ 8-3 victory over the Finns, the third time in four contests Bennett posted two helpers in a single game.

Penguins assistant to the general manager Tom Fitzgerald was in Lake Placid for the beginning of Evaluation camp and he came away impressed with how Bennett stacked up against the high level of competition.

“Beau showed me really good hockey sense and better speed than I thought – especially in flight once he gets going,” Fitzgerald said. “His ability to handle the puck and make plays – he just knew what he was doing with the puck before he got it – that tells you how precious his hockey IQ is. He went into the Sweden-Finland portion of the tournament and picked up right where he left off in the blue-white (scrimmage) games.”

USA Hockey’s Junior Evaluation Camp featured 42 U.S.-born players – including two other recent Penguins’ draft picks, defenseman Philip Samuelsson (2009; second round) and forward Bryan Rust (2010; third round) – auditioning for a spot on the U.S. National Junior Team that will take part in the 2011 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship, Dec. 26, 2010-Jan. 5, 2011, in Buffalo, N.Y.

While Pittsburgh was certainly well represented at Lake Placid, it was Bennett, the 6-foot-1, 173-pound Gardena, California native, who stood out the most.

Playing against some of the top Under-20 talent the United States, Sweden and Finland had to offer, Bennett proved his talent level stacks up favorably with the game’s top prospects.

“It says a lot for his hockey sense that he was able to easily make that transition,” Fitzgerald said. “You have to have that to be an elite player. He was very good on the power play. Whatever wall he set up on or even along the goal line, he made plays happen. He played every power play for them, so that just tells you what he brings to the table for a team.

“He just makes players around him better. If you look at the lineup and you see Beau Bennett next to you, you have a chance to become a better player yourself. We as an organization are really excited to see him grow.”

Team USA moved Bennett around quite a bit during Evaluation Camp as he saw shifts with fellow 2010 early-round draft picks Emerson Etem, DU incoming Freshman Jason Zucker and Justin Faulk among many others. Despite Bennett’s linemates changing often, his production never did. That has Fitzgerald expecting Bennett to be one of the Americans’ top offensive threats in Buffalo.

“I would like to think so,” said Fitzgerald, who kept in touch with Bennett via text message throughout the camp. “I think he made an impression and an impact on the staff there last week. Now he has to go to Denver (University) and continue to grow as a player so he can be named to the U.S. team when they make the announcement.”

Based upon his strong performance Bennett figures to be a good bet to make the World Junior roster later this year.

15 comments:

dggoddard said...

“He just makes players around him better. If you look at the lineup and you see Beau Bennett next to you, you have a chance to become a better player yourself.”

Sounds like Tyler Bozak.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. I seem to recall we had a player that led the team in goals scored while being teamed up with Bozak but had a real down year last year without him. Maybe Bennett could help him find the Force again.

Anonymous said...

DG - I just went over to USCHO and noticed that you posted the same thing that I posted above.

dggoddard said...

I was thinking the same thing. Resurrect the Goal Czar and suddenly you have three goal scoring lines.

The only question is that Bozak was supposedly a better defensive player back then than Bennett is now.

Nonetheless, it would be worth a shot. Maybe throw them together with Drew Shore at Center.

Twister said...

No question DU lost a lot of talent, but I sure am excited to see this freshman class.

I saw the Shore brothers very recently at the DU gym--Drew looks as good as new. I didn't notice any signs of an injury, although appearances aren't everything.

Anonymous said...

http://www.sbnation.com/2010/8/9/1613734/penn-state-college-hockey-division-1-ncaa-new-arena

Off topic but interesting read

msbdu said...

I don't know how much we can believe the author of that article when he makes the following comment:

"The WCHA could survive with strong programs in North Dakota, Denver and Colorado College"

Someone needs to tell him about CC's record in the past 53 years

puck swami said...

CC is a .600 program over the last 15 years or so, and sells about 6,000 tickets per game. Pretty strong program overall. They also have a very good record vs DU in the that time frame.

Their big problem has been the late season meltdowns and NCAA tourney disappointments.

Twister said...

I'm pretty sure I saw Olszewski working out too. Decent size kid.

Anonymous said...

Is Bennett expected to be one of top newcomers in the WCHA?

Anonymous said...

???

He lead his league in scoring, was a 1st round pick, was picked for the US Junior Team tryout camp and is getting lots of positive press for his play at that camp.

Through deductive reasoning, I am going with the pretty good assumption that he is considered one of the top freshmen in the entire country and not just the WCHA...

Anonymous said...

There is an article on the ushl website stating that Nick Shore and Scott Mayfield are 2 of 7 players selected from the ushl to attend the NHL RDO camp.

Anonymous said...

Bennett and the other freshman had better be good....otherwise we are in for a long year.

Anonymous said...

More doom-and-gloom???

A lot of people need to realize that we currently are enjoying our second-most glorious time to be a DU fan, after the '60s of course.

All the people who piss-and-moan about DU not having won a championship since the back2backs also need to recognize the fact that Murray Armstrong went 7 years without a title (from '61 until '68). Just sayin'....

Anonymous said...

I think you read the post incorrectly. It wasn't doom and gloom. By "long year", he meant that we would playing well in April. Sheesh...so defensive.