Fantasy Summary

A shifty defender out of the AJHL, Benning is a prototypical modern-day blueliner. He has the ability to skate, make a good first pass and create in transition.


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January 2024 – Benning, 22, has been playing second fiddle to veteran Lucas Carlsson this year after making the jump from college to the AHL. That has meant less PP time and muted offensive totals (11 in 33) compared to his days of being the top dog at the U of Denver. A heavy, accurate shot is his most formidable weapon, but he distributes intelligently and is adept at dangling and deceiving opposing players on the blue line. Strength and two-way play were always going to be challenges for a smaller (5-9), offensively inclined defender, so a couple years with the Checkers will do him well. But he remains the Panthers’ top D prospect and should see sporadic call-ups as he gains confidence. Ben Gehrels

August 2023 – Benning is a deceptive puck handler who dances the blue line on the power play and launches hard, accurate shots from the point. In his second year with Denver, the 2021-22 NCAA champs, he maintained the near point-per-game pace he managed as a freshman despite the fact that the team lost several top veteran scorers. Benning was once again a strong play-driver who led Denver in scoring from the back end. Given that he recently signed a three-year Entry Level Contract with Florida, there is a good chance we see him with the Checkers this year. Do not be surprised if he takes over their top power play and excels right off the hop. Still a relative secret in fantasy outside of Panthers fans, Benning looks poised to shoot up rankings in the near future. Ben Gehrels

December 2022 – Benning is in the midst of his second point-per-game campaign as a Junior at the University of Denver and is currently sitting only two points back of the nationwide point lead among defencemen. Denver lost a number of top scorers over the offseason, including NCAA scoring leader Bobby Brink (PHI) but Benning continues to drive his team’s offence from the back end. He is a highly mobile defender who distributes well and loves to launch bombs from the top of the circle–such as the slapshot that clinched the 2021-22 Championship for Denver. No other defensive prospect in Florida’s pipeline possesses higher offensive upside than Benning, provided he can transition his skillset to the next level. Ben Gehrels

March 2022 – Benning is having an incredibly successful sophomore season as a key part of a dominant U of Denver squad. He was named Player of the Week in his NCAA Division in late February 2022, and currently sits second league-wide for goal scoring by a defenceman (14) behind New Jersey Devils prospect Luke Hughes. Benning’s star potential remains low for the moment because he is a product of the AJHL (prior to college), which has fewer comparables than more common junior leagues. However, he likely has the most upside from a fantasy perspective of any defenceman in Florida’s pipeline right now—picture a Vince Dunn or Nick Leddy type who can score 35+ points with about two shots per game and time on PP2. Ben Gehrels

October 2020 – Benning was drafted 95th overall by the Panthers. Benning is expected to spend at least two years in college before turning pro.  Jokke Nevalainen

August 2019 – Following in the steps of Cale Makar, Benning is playing his draft year in the AJHL and will likely improve on the point-per-game pace that he set last year. The dynamic blueliner is the modern-day defender that every team craves. He skates well, moves the puck up the ice and his game is quite good in transition. He is shifty through the neutral zone and does a good job of evading defenders as he walks the blue line. He does a good job of distributing the puck from the point. He opens up passing lanes by skating the blueline and makes quick decisions when filtering the puck down towards the front of the net. He is slight at just 5’9″ and 170lbs but the Sherwood Park Crusader will likely be among the best defencemen on the AJHL circuit. With a strong draft year, Benning could be a massive riser throughout the year. Ranked anywhere between 50 and 100 on early-season publications, Benning has the potential to break into the first round by seasons end. Tony Ferrari

Fantasy Upside 8.5
NHL Certainty 7.0
Country CAN
Position D
Roster Type Junior
Shoot/Glove Right
Date of Birth January 5, 2002
Height 5‘9”
Weight 170 lbs
Drafted 2020 Round 4; Overall: 95


 Season Team League GP G A TP PIM      Playoffs GP G A TP PIM 
 2011-2012 Team Brick Alberta Brick Invitational6 0 11 0|        
 2014-2015 St. Albert Sabres PWQC Int PW5 0 66 4|        
 2015-2016 St. Albert Sabres U15 AAAAEHL U1534 6 1218 22|Playoffs2 0 11
 2016-2017 St. Albert Sabres U15 AAAAEHL U1536 10 3343 42|Playoffs10 2 46
  St. Albert Flyers U17 AAAAEHL U171 0 11 0|        
  St. Albert Sabres U15 AAAJohn Reid Bantam5 2 57 8|        
  Team Northwest Alberta Cup5 1 34 2|        
 2017-2018 Northern Alberta Xtreme U16 PrepCSSHL U1629 14 3549 34|Playoffs4 1 23 17 
  Northern Alberta Xtreme U18 PrepCSSHL U181 0 00 0|        
 2018-2019 Sherwood Park CrusadersAJHL60 10 5161 99|Playoffs12 1 89 14 
 2019-2020 Sherwood Park CrusadersAJHL54 12 6375 54|        
  AJHL SelectsJCWC5 1 34 6|        
  Canada West U19WJAC-194 0 11 0|        
 2020-2021 Univ. of DenverNCAA21 3 811 8|        
 2021-2022 Univ. of DenverNCAA41 15 2338 14|        
 2022-2023 Univ. of DenverNCAA39 13 2134 38|        
 2023-2024 Charlotte CheckersAHL72 9 1726 50|Playoffs3 0 11