For the second time in as many drafts with New Jersey, general manager Ray Shero acquired a young forward for a draft pick.
On Saturday, the Devils announced the acquisition of Beau Bennett from Pittsburgh in exchange for the 77th overall pick in the draft. Pittsburgh used the pick on defenseman, Connor Hall from the Kitchener Rangers.
For the Devils, it marks the second time in Shero’s tenure that he acquired a young forward at the draft, after picking up Kyle Palmieri from the Ducks a year ago for a pair of draft picks. Palmieri went on to score 30 goals for the first time in his career this season.
Bennett, 24, is a pending restricted free agent, needs a qualifying offer of at least an $800,000 AAV to remain with the Devils. A former first round pick (20th) by the Penguins in 2010, the right winger has struggled to find his game thanks in part to injuries. He’s played in just 103 games in the last three seasons, scoring 31 points in that span.
A native of Gardena, California, Bennett played under-18 hockey for the Los Angeles Jr. Kings before going on in his hockey career, eventually committing and playing two seasons at the University of Denver, where he scored 38 points in 47 games.
After leaving college, he signed with Pittsburgh and played 39 games of the 2012-13 season in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the AHL, under Devils’ head coach John Hynes. The trade sees him reunited with both the GM who drafted him and two of his former coaches in Hynes and current Devils’ assistant coach, Alain Nasreddine.
Devils draft overview:
12th: Michael McLeod-C, Mississauga Steelheads (OHL)
41st: Nathan Bastian-RW, Mississauga Steelheads (OHL)
73rd: Joseph Anderson-RW, USA U-18 (USHL)
80th: Brandon Gignac-C, Shawinigan (QMJHL)
102nd: Mikhail Maltsev-LW, Russia U-18 (Russia-Jr.)
105th: Evan Cormier-G, Saginaw (OHL)
132nd: Yegor Rykov-D, SKA St. Petersburg 2 (Russia-Jr.)
162nd: Jesper Bratt, L/R, AIK (Sweden-2)
192nd: Jeremy Davies, D, Bloomington (USHL)
Penguins draft overview:
55th: Filip Gustavsson, G, Lulea Jr. (Sweden-Jr.)
61st: Kasper Bjorkqvist, RW, Blues Jr. (Finland-Jr.)
77th: Connor Hall, D, Kitchener (OHL)
121st: Ryan Jones, D, Lincoln (USHL)
151st: Niclas Almari, D, Jokerit Jr. (Finland-Jr.)
181st: Joseph Masonius, D, University of Connecticut (NCAA-H-East)