Beniers, top 2021 Draft prospect, expected to be healthy for NHL camps

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Matthew Beniers, a top forward prospect for the 2021 NHL Draft, is expected to be healthy in time to participate in the World Junior Summer Showcase and NHL development camps after sustaining a lower-body injury during the 2021 IIHF World Championship.

Beniers (6-foot-1, 175 pounds), No. 6 in NHL Central Scouting’s final ranking of North American skaters, fell feet-first into the boards during the first period of the United States’ 6-1 win against Slovakia in the quarterfinals on June 3.

The 18-year-old missed the final two games of the tournament, and is expected to need four weeks to recover.

The 2021 draft will be held virtually, with the first round July 23 and rounds 2-7 on July 24.

The World Junior Summer Showcase is scheduled to begin July 24 at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Michigan. The annual camp is one of the early evaluation events for teams picking their rosters for the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship, which will be held Dec. 26 to Jan. 5, 2022, in Edmonton and Red Deer, Alberta.

Beniers scored 24 points (10 goals, 14 assists) in 24 games as a freshman at the University of Michigan, and led first-time NHL Draft-eligible NCAA players in goals, goals per game (0.42) and shots on goal per game (2.38).

“He just played such a complete game,” Michigan senior alternate captain Mike Pastujov said of Beniers. “He was a true freshman but played a 200-foot game, could kill penalties and play power play. He has such a well-rounded game for his age, understands the game really well, is a good teammate and I loved playing with him. He’s a really good player.”

Beniers helped the United States win the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship as the youngest player on the roster, scoring three points (one goal, two assists) and averaging 17:05 of ice time in seven games as a second-line center.

He scored two points (one goal, one assist) and averaged 6:28 of ice time in six games at the World Championship.

In NHL.com’s most recent mock drafts, Beniers is expected to be selected by the expansion Seattle Kraken with the No. 2 pick.

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