All in the Family
BostonBruins.com – The Subban saga wasn’t the only family story brewing during the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.
While 24th overall draft pick Malcolm Subban turned his brotherly love into deep-rooted rivalry with Montreal Canadiens defenseman and older brother, P.K. Subban, Matt Benning is following in the NHL footsteps of not just one, but two Bennings before him.
During this year's draft, the Boston Bruins – the very team for which his uncle, Jim Benning, is the assistant general manager – selected Benning in the sixth round with the 175th overall pick.
“It was a great feeling,” said the defenseman in the minutes following his selection. “I mean, anytime you get your name with an NHL team it’s pretty unreal and I hope this feeling sticks for a while.”
The 18-year-old played his 2011-12 season with the Spruce Grove Saints in the AJHL where he recorded 4-14=18 totals in 44 games.
“I think I’m more of a stay at home D man,” said Benning. “Just kind of like rough and tough…hard to play against kind of D man.”
The family ties with hockey don’t end with his uncle. Benning’s dad, Brian, was also an NHL defenseman who played 10 seasons with St. Louis, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Edmonton and Florida.
“Yeah I mean, with my uncle obviously playing in the NHL and my dad playing in the NHL too, there’s a bit of pressure,” said Benning. “But they support me in whatever I do and hopefully one day I can pursue my dream of playing in the NHL just like they did.”
Boston Bruins Director of Amateur Scouting Wayne Smith tagged Benning as a “good puck mover” but the 6-foot powerhouse knows he still has a challenge ahead of him at the B's Development Camp next week.
“I mean watching [the Bruins] on TV you can, you can say what you want,” said Benning. “But these are the best players in the world and it will be a good tool to see how I need to improve and how I need to get better.”
What is he looking to improve on throughout the summer?
“I’m gonna try to work on my foot speed and my skating,” said Benning.
But even with the exciting news of the Draft, he can’t turn all of his attention to hockey just yet.
When he got the call from his uncle, he had his nose in the books, studying for his final exams.
“I have to write them in the next week so…I was studying for math,” he said.
While his focus right now might be on math, the real test comes this week at the Bruins sixth annual Development Camp.