Back in April, Penguins GM Jim Rutherford admitted that the club screwed up Beau Bennett‘s development, and that the first-round draft pick in 2010 should’ve spent more time honing his game in the AHL.
Keep that in mind when you read today’s Pittsburgh Tribune-Review story on Bennett, because apparently a summer of strength-training has done wonders for the 23-year-old forward’s state of mind.
“I’ve seen him enter training camp a lot more confident,” said coach Mike Johnston. “He’s handling the puck well.”
Bennett credits his new trainer, Matt O’Hara, for not only helping him get stronger, but getting “strong in the right way.” He added that his ” biggest regret” is that he didn’t meet O’Hara “five years ago.”
After putting up just 12 points in 49 games last season, Bennett signed a one-year, $800,000 contract in July.
That’s actually a decrease in NHL salary compared to his entry-level contract, so he shouldn’t lack for motivation in 2015-16.
“We know what (Radim) Vrbata can do there, we know what (Alex) Burrows can do there, we know what (Jannik) Hansen can do there. It’s a good time to look at other guys.”
Whether Virtanen, 19, can crack the Canucks or is returned to his junior team still remains to be seen. A right-shooting power forward, he’s been one of the few Vancouver players to score this preseason.
Drafted in 2014, Virtanen became the highest Canucks draft pick since 1999, when the Sedins were taken second and third overall.