Sam Bennett had no problem scoring goals or showing his gritty side this past season with the Ontario Hockey League’s Kingston Frontenacs. The same can’t be said for one element of fitness testing at the NHL Scouting Combine in Toronto.
According to a report from The Canadian Press, the 17-year-old Bennett, who had 91 points in 57 regular season games for Kingston and is the top-ranked North American skater heading into the June NHL Draft, couldn’t do a single pull-up during Saturday’s fitness testing.
“I was definitely disappointed with myself,” Bennett said, as per Canadian Press. “I was wanting to do the best I can in every test. But, I guess, ultimately games aren’t won or lost if you can do a pull-up in the gym.
“I think (what sets me apart) really just a combination of my hockey sense along with my compete level … I think I compete as hard, if not harder, than anyone else.”
A left-shooting center, it seems Bennett still has some growing to do. He stands at 6’0″ and weighs 178 pounds, but doesn’t turn 18 years old until June 20 – seven days before the first round of the draft. But the way he plays the game, the “compete level” as he called it, is an element of his game scouts seem to heavily picked up on.
“He plays the kind of game you think cannot be sustained for a whole season because it’s a high-energy game and compete game at all ends of the ice,” said NHL Central Scouting’s David Gregory, as per Bennett’s profile at NHL.com.
“He ends up playing that game for the whole year and has led his team. He just never stops, and put that with the skill package he has and how well he thinks the game, he’s pretty much a top-notch player.”