Beniers is ranked sixth among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting Services, though several media mock drafts have him in the mix as a top-three selection. He is one of three University of Michigan players expected to be drafted in the top 10, along with defenseman Owen Power and forward Kent Johnson.
Beniers is considered a hardworking, two-way centerman who already had a taste of pro competition as the youngest player for Team USA at the IIHF World Championship in May. He was also the youngest player on Team USA's gold-medal winning team at the World Junior Championship, where he tallied three points (1+2) in seven games.
The Hingham, Massachusetts native led first-time NHL Draft-eligible players with 24 points (10+14) in 24 games as a freshman at Michigan to earn a place on the Big Ten's All-Rookie Team.
What they're saying
NHL.com's Mike Morreale in his latest mock draft, where he has Beniers slotted second to Seattle:
"He is an outstanding skater who is as relentless on the forecheck as he is on the backcheck. He was a key piece for the United States winning the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship as the youngest player on the roster and hasn't looked out of place playing with and against NHL players with the United States at the 2021 IIHF World Championship."
An anonymous scout to NHL.com on why he would select Beniers over fellow center Mason MacTavish:
"Beniers is as close to (Chicago Blackhawks captain) Jonathan Toews as there is. He checks every single box of a player you'd want to start an organization. He's a 6-foot-1 center and can skate. He doesn't drive the offense, but he's got that secondary offense. I think the biggest compliment I can give Beniers is he's an April, May, June player. McTavish probably is too; I just don't know him well enough off the ice. Players like Beniers elevate their game when you want to win a championship. I think Beniers is going to go higher just because of the body of work and maybe more name recognition. Maybe if there was an OHL season, it would be more of a conversation."
Michigan teammate and fellow top prospect Kent Johnson:
"It's obviously really nice to be able to play with a guy who takes good care of the ice, 200 feet. He's just buzzing around out there the whole game. He's so good at transitioning the puck, getting out of our D-zone and then getting in the O-zone."
What he's saying
Beniers on when he expects to be ready for the NHL:
"For me I think it's a few years. I'm not totally sure what's going to happen, but I think I'm pretty close. It takes a lot of work to get there and stay there and be impactful. You've got to be ready mentally and physically, so I'm not totally sure what's going to happen and when I'm going to be there. But I'm hoping it's soon. I think that'd be pretty cool."
Beniers on his defensive game:
"I definitely take pride in it and make sure that I'm doing well at it. I think that kind of just comes along with my hockey IQ and kind of how I played growing up. … My dad coached me when I was really young and he always kind of set the importance of playing the game the right way, playing defense, making sure you're kind of behind the puck and playing the right way."
Source : https://www.nhl.com/sabres/news/buffalo-sabres-nhl-draft-matthew-beniers-prospect-profile/c-325640908651