Benning named CJHL Top Defenseman

Josh Bell2020 Draft Center, USHL

Photo by Target Photography | Sherwood Park Crusaders

Michael Benning has been named CJHL defenseman of the year, the league announced Monday.

Benning, No. 74 in Future Considerations Spring ranking for the 2020 NHL Draft, finished the season first among all AJHL defenders with 63 assists and 75 points to go along with 12 goals.

The Sherwood Park Crusaders defender was also awarded the W.G. Scott Memorial Trophy, awarded to the defensive player who demonstrates the greatest all-round ability in the position.

“Benning is a highly intelligent playmaker who can log big minutes and break opponents down by controlling the pace of play,” Future Considerations head Western scout Justin Froese said. “He’s not the biggest player or most dynamic skater, but he has a knack for using skilled hands and deception to open up ice and playing a rangy style of play, sliding into open ice at opportunistic moments.”

The 2021-22 University of Denver commit was also named to the North Division All-League team, after finishing with the third-highest single season assist total from a defenseman all-time.

Benning, 18, added one assist in four games at the World Junior A Challenge for Canada West.

With files from Aaron Vickers