Anaheim Ducks: End of Season Grades for 2020-21 Defensemen

Cam Fowler #4 of the Anaheim Ducks (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Cam Fowler #4 of the Anaheim Ducks (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /
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Jaret Anderson-Dolan #28 of the Los Angeles Kings skates past Simon Benoit #86 of the Anaheim Ducks (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

Simon Benoit

Raw Grade: B-

Eakins Adjusted Bell-Curve Grade: C

Simon Benoit was a little bit of an underground hype machine beloved by some few who have followed the Ducks prospect pool for years on end. Specifically, I can recall a conversation back a couple of years with DefendTheNest blogger John Broadbent in which he was raving about him. At the time I’m pretty sure my response was something along the lines of “I don’t care, he doesn’t matter.”

Fast forward until today and Simon Benoit has finally made his NHL debut. To be fair to everyone involved, he did only play in 6 games at the tail end of the season, collected no points, and ended up with a negative 3 +/- rating. But oh boy can he hit, and he really does matter. Consider this a blanket, and public, apology.

Benoit made an impact physically, finishing only below Jani Hakanpaa on the team for hits per 60 minutes of play (at 5v5) and led the team in blocked shots by the same metric. There is certainly a case to be made that teams that block more shots do so because they have the puck less, and that is certainly a valid point of view, though it bears mentioning that Benoit saw the fewest unblocked shot attempts while he was on the ice.

That is to say, he was one of the best defensive players the Ducks had for suppressing shot attempts, and then he was one of the best for getting into shooting lanes and disrupting opposition shots.

Whether that is a good thing or not is up for debate, as Benoit had the second most goals scored against him of all the Ducks blueliners this past season. Perhaps fewer blocked shots would lead to fewer rebounds and deflections, or perhaps not. Nonetheless, his sheer physicality and good NHL size would suggest that he’s at least worthy of a third pairing slot on most teams. Most teams not being the Ducks. Expect him to slot in next to Fowler next season for reasons.