For the past two years Penguins fans have gushed over Simon Despres. Certainly, there is reason to praise the heralded defenseman. He is one of the organization’s bright, young stars who looks destined for greatness in the NHL.
With the spotlight on Despres though, many have overlooked Beau Bennett. The Denver University sophomore has been continuously knocked for his slender frame and lack of strength. After bulking up this off-season and improving his conditioning, it appears as though Bennett has finally silenced his critics.
Topping that list? Beau Bennett.
Despres and 2011 first round pick Joe Morrow also appear near the top. Eric Tangradi and Dustin Jeffrey are older, more refined prospects who made their way into the top six.
I have been a fan of Bennett since I raved about him last summer after the Pens drafted the California native. Despres, while supremely gifted, is not as skilled as the first round selection that followed him. Bennett has the ability to be a playmaker or finisher–depending on what the circumstances call for. He appears to be the perfect winger for the Penguins current roster. Unfortunately, he will need a minimum of two more years at the collegiate or minor league level before he is ready to produce in the NHL.
Morrow, a highly criticized pick this summer, is also oozing with potential. The WHL star is every bit as talented as Despres and should possibly be ranked ahead of him on Altenbaugh’s list.