COUNTRY: United States
DRAFT YEAR PRODUCTION: Michigan (NCAA), 24GP, 10G, 14A, 24PTS, +21; USA (WJC), 7GP, 1G, 2A, 3PTS, +3; USA (WC), 6GP, 1G, 1A, 2PTS, +1
RANKING: 6th Ranked North American Skater - Central Scouting
WHAT'S THE BUZZ
"Top-line, all-situations center who delivers in the clutch. Beniers' skill set is very similar to what we saw from Jonathan Toews in his 2005-06 draft year." -Steve Kournianos, The Draft Analyst
CUT TO THE CHASE
Matthew Beniers scored 10 goals and 24 points with a Big Ten-best plus-21 in his freshman campaign at Michigan. He also helped Team USA win gold at the 2021 World Junior Championship, posting three points and averaging 17:05 minutes of ice time, as the youngest player on the roster. He also represented America at the 2021 World Championship, which was cut short due to a lower-body injury, though the injury won't keep him out of the WJ Summer Showcase or NHL development camps.
Beniers is the definition of a complete forward and the best 200-foot player in this draft class. His tenaciousness in all three zones even had some scouts projecting him ahead of Michigan teammate Owen Power as the best prospect in the entire draft.
Beniers is relentless in his puck pursuit in the defensive zone, and some scouts noted that his motor never stops running. He is always in proper defensive position, and his hustle and determination in the D zone is a testament to his work ethic.
Beniers is a powerful skater that can hit top-end speed in a few strides. He's also elusive and creative with the puck on his stick. Beniers possesses a great shot and quick release, though he doesn't utilize it enough, opting to setup his teammates, which he often accomplishes because he is a smart and accurate passer.
Beniers strength is also impressive. He isn't shy about using his body or playing physical. His lower-body strength allows him to hold onto pucks, cycle and forecheck. If there is an area of his game that needs improving, it would be his faceoffs where he has underachieved.
DID YOU KNOW?
Beniers originally committed to Harvard before COVID-19 canceled its season, and he opted for Michigan. His brother, Bobby, plays hockey at Williams College. His father, Bob, who coached Matthew for 11 years, was a collegiate football player at Cornell.