Mock drafts are a lot of fun…and they are, for the most part, useless. You never know if a team may trade a player or draft picks to move up or to trade back to collect more picks. The St. Louis Blues have three picks in the first round of the NHL draft this year. Who knows…they could offer all three for the opportunity to draft Connor Bedard. Likewise, Montreal, Detroit, and Chicago all have two first round picks. The Philadelphia Flyers have just one. But at least it is a high one.
So at this time of year, analysts get together and try to guess who each team will pick. They base it on skill set and possible team needs based on ability. One player who has been forecast to Philly was Oliver Moore. However, another player has been trending a lot lately: left winger Zach Benson.
This is looking more and more like a draft that is deep in forwards. That is good as the Flyers are in desperate need for a strong forward. Unlike Moore, and some of the other top forwards, Benson is mostly a left winger. That shouldn’t deter Daniel Briere from taking a look at him as he could be a left winger in the mold of Simon Gagne.
Benson is smaller than the Flyers typically pick. He is 5’10” and 160 lbs. But the 18 year old trades away size for speed; something the Flyers desperately lack. He has played the last three seasons for the Winnipeg Ice in the WHL. In those seasons, he scored 10 goals in 24 games, 25 goals in 58 games, and 36 goals in 60 games. Some of his teammates included last year draft prospects Conor Geekie and Matthew Savoie.
Here are some of the things said about Benson:
"” Despite his average skating, we feel that Benson’s work ethic and skill outweigh the risk and that he can develop that aspect of his game. You can’t teach work ethic, and you can’t teach a player to be as smart as Benson is.” — Matthew Somma of Smaht Scouting“A play driver who handles the puck with quick hands. Surprisingly adept at protecting the puck based on his slight frame” — Sam Cosentino of Sportsnet“Benson is manipulative, intelligent, and lethal with the puck on his stick. His playmaking ability is slick and precise, fitting passes through lanes as they develop.” — Tony Ferrari of The Sporting News"
Benson might be a perfect fit for the Flyers. If the Flyers want to change direction, they may need to start focusing on speed and agility. A top left wing sniper is something this team could definitely use. Perhaps Benson might be the guy the Briere decides to choose.