Season Review – Andre Benoit made his first significant impact in the NHL this season as the journeyman defenseman played 33 of the 48 games. He was a solid contributor on the third pairing, most often with Chris Phillips, He recorded his first NHL goal (twice, after having the first one waved off on a phantom goaltender interference call against Montreal), among his 3 goals and 10 points. He finished with a -3 rating while averaging almost 16 and a half minutes per game.
Playoffs – Benoit participated in 5 playoff games, being the third option behind Eric Gryba (suspended) and Patrick Wiercioch (injury) for the sixth spot on the blueline. After coming out of the lineup after Gryba returned from his suspension, he got back in when Gryba was injured in game 1 against the Penguins. While the Senators struggled against the Pens, Benoit actually recorded 2 assists and was a +3 in the four games he played.
Contract Status – Benoit will become an unrestricted Free Agent on July 5th and will probably be looking for the one way contract that has always eluded him.
Importance To Franchise – Not a building block by any means, the now 29 year old showed last season that he can be an NHL body, if not on an everyday basis, but can play a majority of the games.
Needs to Improve – He possesses a pretty hard shot, the only problem is that he rarely hits the net with it. He, more than anyone else seems to have a higher percentage of shots that get through traffic but end up nowhere near the net.
Grade – B – With all the injuries sustained on the blue line, his play was pretty consistent all season and he earned his playing time. He was one bright light in a bad series against the Penguins.