1st Overall: Matthew Beniers (C), Michigan (NCAA)
H: 6’1″ W: 174 lbs
2020-21 Stats: 22GP, 10G, 13A, 23P
The Senators finally get a bonafide number one centre with the selection of Beniers, his blend of speed, skill and high-motor makes him a slam-dunk at 1st overall.
Leading Michigan in goals with 10 and sitting 3rd on the team in points, Beniers has been one of the teams best forwards despite being a Freshman, draft-eligible forward. The talented forward even helped lead the Americans to a win at the 2021 World Juniors, finishing the tournament with 3 points in 7 games.
While the Senators are deep at the centre position, they don’t have a clear top centre for the future, they have plenty of players who fit the middle-six role (Josh Norris, Shane Pinto, Logan Brown). While one of these prospects could carve out a future role on the top-line, getting a top-5 talent in the draft who is more likely to be the centre of the future seems like the correct decision.
It’s clear that in today’s NHL you have to play with pace in order to succeed, and adding Beniers into the fold could make the Senators that much more dangerous to play against. Ottawa would then have 3 burners up front with Tim Stützle, Alex Formenton and the aforementioned Beniers.
People have even compared Beniers to the Senators top pick in 2020, Tim Stützle, the pace that these two play with would give opposing teams fits, especially if the two are playing together.
With a defensive core that is already filled with top-prospects, adding another highly-talented prospect at forward would nearly put all the pieces together in the Senators rebuild.