There is varied opinions as to which player is the top prospect for the 2014 NHL Draft. Some NHL scouts feel that Barrie Colts defenseman Aaron Ekblad is the top player by a tiny margin, while the independent scouting service ISS Hockey ranked Kootenay Ice center Sam Reinhart as their top prospect. But NHL Central Scouting hasn't wavered in their belief that Kingston Frontenacs center Sam Bennett is the best of this year's crop.
CSS ranked Bennett first among North American skaters in their midterm rankings back in January, then placed the Holland Landing, ON native in the exact same position in their final rankings released in April. And, while there is a couple of top European skaters in this draft, the top North American skaters are considered to be a cut above, hence the conclusion that CSS sees Bennett as their top 2014 prospect.
Bennett's numbers for the 2013-14 certainly make him a worthy contender for the first overall selection. In 57 games, he scored 36 goals and added 55 assists for 91 points, 51 points more than his OHL rookie season in which he played three more games than in 2013-14. Bennett generated nine more points in seven postseason games for the Frontenacs, although the team squandered a 3-0 series lead to be ousted 4-3 by the Peterborough Petes.
Bennett spoke with the media at the 2014 NHL Combine following his testing session, a portion of which is captured in this HF video.
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