It’s no secret that center is a pressing positional need for the Detroit Red Wings. After Dylan Larkin and Joe Veleno, there’s a steep drop off in Detroit’s depth. With the 6th overall pick in this year’s draft, Steve Yzerman has the opportunity to bolster the pipeline massively with a near-elite center. So, who’s at the top?
Beniers has drifted slowly towards the top of mock drafts as July 22nd approaches, with many predicting the Seattle Kraken to snatch him up at 2nd. If he’s is somehow still available when Detroit is on the clock, Yzerman’s decision should be an easy one.
Beniers is the best center in this year’s draft. With the University of Michigan, Beniers averaged a point per game, scoring 10 goals and 14 assists in 24 games. Although he’s not quite the superstar talent of previous draft-leading centers, his maturity and two-way playstyle project as a great NHL center.
Beniers is a tough center to counter. He has a very, very well rounded style: opponents can’t just focus on one aspect of his game. If you try to slow him down, he’ll outsmart you with his fantastic hockey IQ and creativity. While Beniers possesses a decent motor and decently high skills, his main attribute is just how clean and smart he plays the game. You won’t see Beniers making a lot of mistakes in offensive or defensive zones.
It’s almost certain Beniers will not be available when Detroit is ready to pick, which is unfortunate, because he’s nearly a perfect fit for the organization. That two-way playstyle that Jeff Blashill has been trying to force on his best players? Yeah, Beniers already excels there. That high-end compete that is all important for an Yzerman player? Yep, he’s got that too. If the Red Wings had a bit more luck in the draft, Beniers would be the pick.