Fresh off of the NHL Expansion Draft just two days ago, the Seattle Kraken were back in action early in the NHL Draft on Friday night. The winners of the second overall pick in the draft lottery, the Kraken had their pick of every prospect but first overall pick Owen Power of the Buffalo Sabres. They opted to take his University of Michigan teammate Matthew Beniers as the first draft pick in franchise history.
Beniers is the top center prospect in the draft class and an elite two-way talent. The consensus No. 2 pick, Beniers is a high-IQ, well-rounded forward. A talented skater who plays a 200-foot game, Beniers has excelled at every level in both the offensive and defensive aspects of the game. The dynamic center draws comparisons to Patrice Bergeron and Jonathan Toews, not to mention Seattle GM Ron Francis. Beniers has been a point-per-game player in each of the past three years, including in the NCAA with Michigan this season.
One of four 2021 Wolverines selected in the top five picks, Beniers is expected to join his teammates back in Ann Arbor this season as Michigan chases a National Championship. After one more year though, he should be able to jump into the lineup for the Kraken. Due to his two-way focus, Beniers will be a versatile roster option right away for Seattle and could earn a major role quickly in a forward corps that, as of right now, is not especially deep.