Penguins select Beau Bennett
The Pittsburgh Penguins selected forward Beau Bennett from the Penticton Vees of the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) with their first selection (20th overall) of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft Friday night in Los Angeles.
Bennett, 18, led the BCHL in scoring this past season with 120 points (41G-79A) in 56 games. He added 14 points (5G-9A) in 15 postseason contests for the Vees.
Bennett, whose point total was the most in the BCHL since the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Tyler Bozak registered 128 points in 2007, became the first BCHL rookie to surpass 100 points in the past seven years.
The 6-foot-1, 173-pound Bennett, who has committed to attend the University of Denver beginning in the fall, is the highest-drafted Californian-born player in NHL history.
Bennett, a Gardena, Calif. native, was rated the 32nd-best North American skater by Central Scouting. He was a member of the gold-medal winning Team USA entry at the World Junior ‘A’ Challenge in PEI this past November, where he was the only non-USHL member of the team.
Prior to joining Penticton, Bennett played his junior hockey with the Los Angeles Jr. Kings of the Midwest Elite Hockey League (MWEHL). Bennett scored 25 goals and 58 points in 46 games with the Jr. Kings in 2008-09.
Flyers made play for 20th overall pick
In a surprising development, the Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins had multiple discussions leading up to the Penguins selecting 20th overall.
Much of the talk centered around defenseman Dan Hamhuis as Philadelphia was actively trying to land Pittsburgh’s pick with the intention of moving the pick or the player selected to the San Jose Sharks as the Sharks and Flyers are reportedly discussing a trade involving goaltender Evgeni Nabokov.
Pittsburgh I’m told were not close to moving out of the No. 20 spot. Indications are the team had Bennett rated among the top 15 prospects on their board.
Bennett stock has been all over the place. Some scouts had him rated as a top 20 prospect while others had him as a early-to-mid 2nd round prospect.
I spoke to a representive of Bennett’s and they seem surprised he went before Emerson Etem another California kid. Emerson and Bennett are represented by the same firm. However, the expectation was that Bennett’s stock was climbing and that he would go in the top-25.
Pittsburgh Penguins GM Ray Shero will continue meeting with agents tomorrow. J.P. Barry the agent for Sergei Gonchar told me Friday afternoon that the two sides will “probably” talk again tomorrow.
Discussions will continue with Bob Murray the agent for Bill Guerin. No numbers were exchanged between the two sides today. Tomorrow could reach that point.
There has been no confirmation that Shero has met with Rich Curran the agent for Alexei Ponikarovsky. Curran told me about 10 days he expected to “see” Shero in Los Angeles.
Stephen Bartlett the agent for Mark Eaton expects to meet with Shero tomorrow. It is widely beleived that Eaton is heading to the open market.
More on Hamhuis, Gonchar later