Good article on Mac Bennett by Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette. It profiles the offensively-oriented d-man , who was drafted in the 2009 draft in the third round by the Canadiens, and who has spent four seasons since then at Michigan under legendary coach Red Berenson. He used that time to develop his skills and mature physically. He was also Greg Pateryn's defence partner for two seasons with the Wolverines.
Four years later, Bennett appears ripped as he launches his pro career. He stands 6-foot tall and tips the scales at close to 200 pounds. Earlier this year, he was recognized as one of the best-conditioned hockey players in the U.S. by an association of strength and conditioning coaches. Last season, as he reported to the prospect camp, he was proud to have met Patrice Brisebois' targeted weigh-in goal of 195 lbs.
Some players really stand to benefit by going to the NCAA and getting four years of development, instead of just two in the CHL. For example, Brady Vail might have sorted out whatever didn’t please the Canadiens, and been thought worthy of a contract after his senior year.
Mac's role on the Bulldogs next season might be a relatively important one for a rookie. He'll be one of the few lefties on hand for the coaching staff. Assuming both Jarred Tinordi and Nathan Beaulieu start the year in Montréal, all the other defence prospects are righties: Greg Pateryn, Morgan Ellis, Darren Dietz, Dalton Thrower, and maybe even Magnus Nygren, if he can be convinced to report to Hamilton.
Of course, Davis Drewiske is a leftie, but it's hard at this time to call him a prospect anymore.
So, contrary to the common situation where teams have too many lefties and too few righties, and the righties get lots of icetime on their proper side of the ice, Mac might be for once the lone leftie, the guy who gets double-shifted and eats a lot of minutes. Good for him.
And we can hope that if Greg Pateryn starts the year in Hamilton rather than with le Grand Club, he'll be a big help in getting the rookie started off in the right direction.