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Florida Panthers Prospects: Benning shines with four points

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Panthers prospects benning
Mike Benning, whose father Brian was an original member of the Florida Panthers, had a four-point week for the University of Denver to lead all of the team’s prospects. // Photo courtesy @FlaPanthers

The Florida Panthers have a wealth of offensively-minded defensemen both on their NHL roster and as prospects. Another one of them made a name for himself last week: University of Denver sophomore Mike Benning.

Florida’s 2020 fourth-round pick recorded four points (a goal and three assists) in Denver’s two-game sweep of Miami University to be named NCHC Co-Defenseman of the Week.

Benning’s father Brian was an original member of the Panthers, playing 73 games in their inaugural 1993-94 season and 24 in the second.

The younger Benning has been one of the most productive players on the Pioneers this season as he ranks fifth in points (11) and goals (five) while leading all defensemen on the team in both categories through 12 games.

The 5-9, 178-pound defenseman is a very swift skater who can carry the puck and join the attack in the offensive zone.

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He has a lot of strength for his size, even having enough to screen the goaltender like a power forward and pot in loose pucks in front of the net.

He has a lot of awareness in the offensive zone, knows how to create space for himself and his teammates, and possesses a very refined and accurate shot, which is unusual among defensemen his age.

Ty Smilanic, Florida’s 2020 third-round draft pick, also had a great offensive showing from the defensive side of the ice.

In Quinnipiac’s 8-0 victory over St. Lawrence on Saturday, the 6-1, 178-pound center put up three points (two goals, one assist) and showed Panthers fans why he was made Quinnipiac’s highest-drafted player in school history.

He has a real knack for jumping into the offensive rush and creating opportunities for his teammates. He also has a wicked shot of his own, which has been on full display throughout the season.

Through 14 games, Smilanic has seven goals and four assists for 11 points. He leads all Quinnipiac players in goals while ranking third on the team in points.

The Charlotte Checkers, Florida’s AHL affiliate, went 1-2-0 this week.

Charlotte only scored three goals in their past two games after beating the Lehigh Valley Phantoms 4-3 on Wednesday.

Logan Hutsko was the lone Panthers prospect in Charlotte to have a multi-point week, recording a goal and an assist in Wednesday’s victory.

The Checkers will be back in action on Tuesday, as they return to Bojangles Coliseum for a two-game set against the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins.

 Games PlayedGoals Assists Points
C Justin Sourdif
(WHL, Vancouver Giants)
2123
D Mike Benning
(NCAA, University of Denver)
2134
C Aleksi Saarela
(NL, SCL Tigers)
2022
C Mackie Samoskevich
(NCAA, University of Michigan)
2033
D Carter Berger
(NCAA, University of Connecticut)
2000
D Tyler Inamoto
(NCAA, University of Wisconsin)
2000
C Owen Lindmark
(NCAA University of Wisconsin)
1000
D Braden Hache
(OHL, Kingston Frontenacs)
2000
D Cole Krygier
(NCAA, Michigan State University)
2033
D Kasper Puutio
(Liiga, KalPa)
2000
D Santtu Kinnunen
(Liiga, Tappara)
2011
C Aleksi Heponiemi
(AHL, Charlotte Checkers)
3011
LW Grigori Denisenko
(AHL, Charlotte Checkers)
3000
D Max Gildon
(AHL Charlotte Checkers)
3000
D Lucas Carlsson
(NHL Florida Panthers)
0000
RW Serron Noel
(AHL Charlotte Checkers)
3011
C Logan Hutsko
(AHL, Charlotte Checkers)
3112
D Matt Kiersted
(AHL, Charlotte Checkers)
3011
RW Cole Schwindt
(AHL, Charlotte Checkers)
3000
C Henry Bowlby
(AHL, Charlotte Checkers)
3000
LW Maxim Mamin
(NHL, Florida Panthers)
0000
C Ty Smilanic
(NCAA, Quinipiac)
2213
D Evan Nause
(QMJHL, Quebec Remparts)
2000

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