Buffalo Sabres fans got a first look at 13th overall pick Zach Benson this week, and he did not disappoint in the French Connection Tournament.
Zach Benson predictably drew attention at Buffalo Sabres development camp this week, and he topped it off with an epic performance at the annual French Connection Tournament. With the Sabres top prospects like Matt Savoie and Jiri Kulich, among others, taking well-deserved time off from camp, Benson took over for Team Robert in the event.
Benson looked as though he knew where he was going the second the puck touched his stick, sometimes before. He scanned the ice, looking for open linemates, and when there was no one home, he had no problem taking it up the ice himself, displaying incredible puck control in the process.
But it wasn’t just Benson’s offensive game that impressed me. He also played a sound game defensively, showing a relentless motor, and looking good on the backcheck.
Benson also logged more than a fair share of takeaways and took advantage of a few erroneous plays. He committed one slashing penalty, but other than that, it was a great game and an even better week overall for one of the Blue and Gold’s most exciting prospects.
Buffalo Sabres, fanbase, has got to be pleased with Zach Benson
Size was the only real concern regarding Benson when he was drafted, but at least as far as development camp goes, the 18-year-old played bigger than his size and showed poise in every phase of the game. While this was just development camp, which, by extension, saw many prospects well below Benson’s skill level, it doesn’t take away from the fact that Benson aced his first test as a Sabre.
Now, we will see what happens from here. But if the compass keeps pointing north for Benson, the Buffalo Sabres are going to have a remarkable forward skating into KeyBank Center once he’s fully ready for the NHL.
Source: Sabres development camp takeaways: Is Zach Benson already Buffalo’s best prospect? by Matthew Fairburn, TheAthletic.com