Prospect Spotlight: Matthew Beniers
Prospect Spotlight is a feature highlighting NHL Draft eligibles and giving a peek into what makes them an intriguing prospect ahead of the 2021 NHL Draft. This edition features Michigan Wolverines’ Matthew Beniers.
- Date of Birth: November 5, 2002
- Position: C
- Team: Michigan Wolverines (NCAA)
- Height: Six-foot-one
- Weight: 174 pounds
- Shoots: L
Playing NCAA hockey at Univ. of Michigan
Although Beniers was originally committed to play NCAA hockey at Harvard, the pandemic caused the ECAC conference to halt play for the season. That led to the centerman deciding to play his draft year at the University of Michigan, along with two other top 2021 draft-eligible players, Owen Power and Kent Johnson. Beniers has 14 points in 16 games with the Wolverines this season, good for third in team scoring.
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Won gold with Team USA at the 2021 World Juniors
Beniers was the youngest player and the only draft-eligible skater on Team USA at the 2021 World Juniors, but that didn’t stop him from contributing. Beniers centered the second line with Cole Caufield and Matt Boldy, putting up three points in seven games as the United States won gold. Though he’s still eligible to return to the tournament next year, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Beniers make the jump to the NHL next season, depending on which team drafts him.
One of the top forwards eligible for the 2021 NHL Draft
Because Beniers has had the advantage of playing regular games during his draft year, he’s been able to cement himself as one of the top skaters eligible this year. Though there is a ton of parity in the 2021 draft, especially around the top end of it, Beniers is undoubtedly one of the best forwards available and could potentially be a top-five pick.
What the experts say
“Beniers is a quick and energetic freshman centreman for Michigan. He seems to be all over the ice and involved in every play when he’s on the ice… This combination makes him pretty lethal on both sides of the puck, utilizing speed and smart stick checks to poke loose pucks and create pressure. Beniers looks like a top-end player in this draft and could break the top 10 if he continues this level of play.” – FCHockey’s head eastern Canada scout Dylan Galloway
“Defensemen and creative forwards dominate the top of this draft class, but Beniers and his elite two-way game should be right in that mix come season’s end. He’s so active all over the ice and is a disruptor of the play. His compete might just be second to none in this class… He’s always looking to help his team, whether that’s defending, moving the puck up, or just being open for a pass. He’s already an elite, well-rounded prospect. He will be in that top-tier conversation of this draft class as the top two-way forward.” – FCHockey’s crossover scout Josh Bell
“Beniers game is built around pressure by taking his style of game to the opponent and keeping them on their heels. He’s a powerful, athletic skater who gets wound in 3 strides and consistently plays at top gear with and without the puck… Can’t knock the efforts he shows off, he’s a strong off puck player in both zones when he’s thinking practically, but he needs to adapt a style to implement at the next level because playing like a model rocket doesn’t work for even the best in the world.” – FCHockey’s head western Canada scout Justin Froese