On an early April morning of 2012, Samuel Bennett was waking up and excited for the start of the day in Kingston. The OHL Priority Selection was about to be start in the next few hours and 16-year-old Bennett was riding high. The Frontenacs had spoken to him and made him aware that they would like to add him to their stable of young prospects.
With their second selection in the first round at number nine, the Club made it official, entering his name into their laptop, and making the announcement on a conference call. Net result? One skilled forward.
The book on Sam Bennett was filled with what every coach desires. In the OHL Prospects Priority Selection issues, the Frontenacs rookie’s opening biography line was: “Samuel is a player that does all the little things that most coaches love.” High praise for a prospect. It continued, with mentions of “great hockey sense; understands the game at a level higher than most players his age; has very good hands”; and not “afraid to go to dirty areas to score goals or prevent goals in his own end.” High praise indeed.
“When I heard I could be coming to Kingston with my buddy Roland, I was so stoked,” said the rookie centreman told the Whig-Standard
Last year with the Toronto Marlies, Bennett played on a line first overall pick Connor McDavid. In 30 games he scored 30 goals and 58 points, along with 11 points in the OHL Cup in just seven games. Te Fronts freshman forward was also a teammate of the Black & Gold’s first selection Roland McKeown last season.
“You guys are going to be impressed with his sniping abilities,” the Whig-Standard quoted McKeown on draft day. “He’s a great player.”
When training camp opened at the end of August for draft picks, veterans and invitees, Sam Bennett was ready, eager and excited.
“I want to be a player who they can depend on,” #93 told Yahoo Sports Buzzing the Net. “I want to be a player who they won’t be afraid to put on the ice in the last 30 seconds to score a goal or to prevent a goal. I want to be that guy. I know it’s a lot to ask because I’ll be a rookie, but I’m hoping I can do it.”
After finalizing the 2012-13 roster that would compete for the Club this season, three exhibition games would have to be played. Needless to say, Mr. Bennett did not disappoint. In the opening game against the Bulls, the ninth over all selection netted two goals in a 6-3 win. Two games later in an 8-7 loss to Ottawa in Brockville, the OHL pre-draft reports lived up to its words as he netted two more.
“I’m a two-way forward who looks after his own end first and I like to throw the body around, but I can score goals too,” the Holland Landing native told Yahoo Sports.
One question that a number of the Frontenac faithful want to know the answer to is this: Why #93?
“When I joined the Marlies two years ago, I had always worn 9, but it wasn’t available. I kind of was a fan of Doug Gilmour as a kid, so I asked for 93,” Sam told the Whig-Standard. “I never would have guessed I would be on a team that he was part of.”
The Frontenac fans definitely see what they like so far and also look forward to seeing #93 in uniform for a long time.