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Benning Excited for Challenges Ahead

Although he grew up in Edmonton, Alberta, D-man Matt Benning still has a deep connection with the Bruins organization.

Saturday, 07.20.2013 / 4:03 PM ET / Features
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Benning Excited for Challenges Ahead -
Although he has grown up in Edmonton, Alberta defenseman Matt Benning still has a lot of connection with the Bruins organization. His uncle is the Bruins Assistant General Manager Jim Benning. However, much like other Bruins prospects with connections to the Bruins organization such as Ryan Fitzgerald and Matt Grzelcyk, Benning still wants to find his own path to the NHL.

“It means a lot,” said Benning on his local connection to the team. “Obviously growing up a Canadian kid you want to be in the NHL. This just gave me the opportunity to be one step closer. I couldn’t be more happy. It’s a great organization and I’m really excited about it.”

Benning, drafted the Bruins in the sixth round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, enters his second development camp after spending a year playing with the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the United States Hockey League (USHL). The 6 foot defenseman played in 57 games for the Fighting Saints scoring 10 goals and adding 16 assists for 26 points. He also had 73 penalty minutes.

His productive year was capped off with a USHL Clark Cup Championship. In 11 playoff games he had 1 goal and 1 assist for 2 points.

Boston Bruins Assistant General Manager Don Sweeney noticed how much that experience helped Benning’s development as a player saying, “Matt Benning has had a really good year, and he won a championship. From where he was a year ago to where he is today is exciting for him as a player.”

Reflecting on his year with the Fighting Saints, Benning reaffirmed what Sweeney said saying how winning a championship has really helped in terms of his development.

“I think that really helped,” said Benning. “My team was pretty good and it definitely helped practicing with them. Good players. I think that I’ve developed a lot to where I am now, but I still think I have a lot more to go obviously. Pretty excited about it.”

Specifically, Benning knows that he still has a lot of development left to go before he is ready for the professional leagues.

“I think that I can still get in better shape,” said Benning. “I’ve been working on that for the past year, year and a half. Foot speed, skating definitely and probably my shot.”

Benning models his game after former Bruins leader and now Edmonton Oiler Andrew Ference. He admires the tenacity with which Ference plays the game despite only being 5’11.

“I really enjoy watching Andrew Ference,” admired Benning. “He plays the game really well. He plays hard and he’s not the biggest guy, but he battles really hard and that’s who I try to model my game after. Just playing hard, being hard to play against.”

This fall, Benning is committed to play at Northeastern University. Fellow Bruins prospects Ryan Fitzgerald and Matt Grzelcyk will be playing at Boston College and Boston University respectively and once Greenwich, Connecticut native and defenseman Wiley Sherman dons a Harvard jersey in the fall of 2014, there will be one Bruins prospect at each of the four Boston schools playing in the Beanpot every year.

Excited about the challenge ahead in playing against fellow Bruins prospects, Benning said, “Obviously, they’re [Fitzgerald and Grzelcyk] really good players.”

“Any time you can play against really good players I think I develop so I’m really excited to play against them. There’s obviously a little rivalry with being in Boston so I’m pretty excited about it.”




1 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
2 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
3 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
4 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
5 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
6 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
7 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
8 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69


P. Bergeron 80 32 36 12 68
L. Eriksson 82 30 33 13 63
D. Krejci 72 17 46 4 63
B. Marchand 77 37 24 21 61
R. Spooner 80 13 36 -9 49
T. Krug 81 4 40 9 44
M. Beleskey 80 15 22 6 37
Z. Chara 80 9 28 12 37
J. Hayes 75 13 16 -12 29
D. Pastrnak 51 15 11 3 26
T. Rask 31 22 8 .915 2.56
J. Gustavsson 11 9 1 .908 2.72
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