It felt like a matter of time for the other shoe to drop on Beau Bennett, and it finally has. The Pittsburgh Penguins traded their oft-injured 2010 first round pick to New Jersey where Bennett will be reunited with the general manager who drafted him in Ray Shero
Penguins trade RW Beau Bennett to New Jersey for No. 77 choice. Choose D Connor Hall from Kitchener.— Dave Molinari (@MolinariPG) June 25, 2016
Bennett has had a series of injuries that limited him to only 129 NHL games since the 2012-13 season. He demonstrated some skill when able to play, but the problem was he just wasn't able to play enough. To flip him for a decent enough middle 3rd round pick is about as good of a job to salvage the asset as Pittsburgh could have hoped for.
Here's a little about Connor Hall from SBN College Hockey:
What I Like:
Hall is a strong kid and likes to use his size and strength to play a nasty, physical game. He punishes forwards, especially along the boards. He makes life difficult for the opposition and can quiet the opposition by making them afraid to go into tough areas of the ice. Sometimes he can cross the line--he served an 11-game suspension for a check to the head to start the season. He's willing to stand up for teammates and drop his gloves if necessary though.
-Strong One-on-One Defender
Hall excels as a shutdown defender that is especially strong one-on-one. He maintains good gaps, and has a strong, active stick. He's got an excellent poke check and is good at getting his stick into passing lanes to disrupt plays.
What I Don't Like:
Hall moves decently for a player his size, but overall, his skating isn't a big strength. His lateral movement and footwork is especially questionable, and may cause him to struggle against faster, more skilled competition.
-Little offensive upside
Hall is and projects to be a defense-first defenseman. He's unlikely to cover up any mistakes he makes on the defensive end with strong plays on the offensive end.
Being a defensive defenseman certainly limits Hall's potential upside and as a result, probably pushes him into the mid-to-late rounds of the Draft. Both Central Scouting and myself see Hall being selected somewhere in the late-fourth to early-fifth round stage. There's always a chance a team looking to fill that specific role falls in love with him and takes him higher, but fourth or fifth round is probably the safest bet.
If Hall succeeds at the NHL level, it's likely as a second or third pairing defenseman that plays a shutdown role and kills penalties. He won't ever be an exciting or flashy player, but could be good enough to hold the opposition quiet and get his team to the next shift.
More @daredlinereport on Hall: Good size, long limbs. Plays with snarl. Top fighters in this class. Finishes checks. Compared: McQuaid -SK— Pens Inside Scoop (@PensInsideScoop) June 25, 2016
Hall compares himself to Brent Seabrook. #Pens— Josh Getzoff (@PensJG) June 25, 2016
He certainly doesn't fit the current perfect candidate for a Penguins style defenseman, but being 6'2 and 192 with some room to fill out is intriguing. I can see this pick getting a lot of gruff, but as Bob McKenzie pointed out, Hall was ranked 71st on the TSN list and the Pens got him at 77. That doesn't automatically equal success, but it does show that more people out there than the Penguins believe in his potential. He might not be the next Brent Seabrook but we'll just have to wait and see how he develops.