Simon Benoit has earned his first call up of the season. He is projected to join the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday against the Edmonton Oilers.
The injury bug has struck the Anaheim Ducks blueline and left them without two of their top 4 defensemen. Josh Manson‘s knee injury is predicted to possibly keep him out until the New Year, and the team is taking preventative measures with Brendan Guhle by keeping him in San Diego. Erik Gudbranson has been Bob Murray‘s solution to the problem so far, and Josh Mahura looked decent in his three-game stint with the big club.
However, with the first-place Pacific Division team rolling into town, the Anaheim Ducks are taking a chance on another one of their rookies. Josh Mahura has reported back to the San Diego Gulls, and Simon Benoit will play in his first NHL game against the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday night.
The young 21-year old defenseman was signed to an AHL contract with the San Diego Gulls in September 2018 after standing out during the 2018 Rookie Faceoff in Las Vegas. As an undrafted free agent out of the QMJHL, it was unknown what impact Benoit would have at a professional level. Nevertheless, after playing 51 games for the Gulls, which included 12 points (2g, 10a) on the season, the organization liked what they saw and signed him to a 3-year entry-level contract in March.
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Benoit then continued to impress the organization during his performance in the 2019 Rookie Faceoff in Irvine and again in pre-season. He reported to San Diego to start the 2019-20 season, but it was only a matter of time before the rookie defenseman was given a shot in the NHL. His attitude alone makes him an ideal candidate as a stand-in for the Anaheim Ducks injured defensemen.
He is driven, dedicated, and passionate about the game. He isn’t above working hard. In fact, he has stated before that the easy work is over, and the hard work for him has only just begun. Benoit knows that he has to work twice as hard as his fellow teammates due to his undrafted status, and it shows in his game.
The 21-year-old also adds a physical aspect to his game that the Anaheim Ducks don’t have in spades. It makes him an outlier and right now, that is really what the team needs. He isn’t going to score goals for the Ducks or put many points on the board for that matter, but his presence is felt out on the ice. A door has been unlocked for the rookie defenseman and now is his chance to prove that he has what it takes to make it in the NHL.
“I’ve barely even started. I found the key. Now I have to open the door.” –Simon Benoit
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