The Seattle Kraken hit a home run with their first-ever draft pick on Friday.
Last night, the Seattle Kraken selected center Matty Beniers with the second overall pick of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. This seemed inevitable, as many experts envisioned him as being the second-best prospect in the draft behind defenseman Owen Power. Power understandably went first overall to the Buffalo Sabres. Beniers is far more than just a consolation prize, though.
Let’s take a deeper dive into him to see why Beniers could be special
Beniers is a Massachusetts native who spent most of his junior years with the USA National Team Development Program. This year, he played his first collegiate season of hockey with the University of Michigan. He would play spectacularly in his first season with the school, as he scored 10 goals and recorded 24 points in 24 games. Not too many 18-year-old kids register a point-per-game at the college level, so this warrants respect. However, his great passing ability, quick speed, and notable strength helped him succeed in his first year. If he continues to progress well offensively, he should be a real scoring threat in the NHL.
Seattle fans should be even more excited about the fact that he is heavily praised for his defensive game, too. He has been compared to elite two-way centers Patrice Bergeron and Jonathan Toews, so scouts hold him to an immensely high standard. It is not very common where a player this young is already so effective on both sides of the ice. Therefore, when it comes to his time with the Kraken, he should be on both their power play and penalty kill.
He has neither confirmed nor denied if he officially is playing a second season in college before joining the Kraken. Ultimately, that is up to him and needs to be respected. Also, it would do no harm if remains at Michigan, as it would allow him more time to work on his craft before being thrown into the deep end.
With how good of a player Beniers already is, it is understandable if fans want him in Seattle immediately. In fact, when looking at their current center depth, it is not necessarily the strongest. Therefore, he very well could cement himself a spot on the NHL roster if he decides he’s ready for the NHL.
No matter what happens on this front, it is just refreshing to see that the Kraken already have a top-of-the-line prospect in their system. He could very well be their first homegrown star and it’ll be exciting to watch his journey.