Zach Benson’s extraordinary performance continues to defy expectations at every turn.
From his outstanding preseason, during which the 13th overall draft pick in 2023 tallied seven points in six exhibition matches, to his impressive start as a rookie with the Sabres, where the 18-year-old seamlessly fit into the lineup and notched four assists in his first eight games.
Benson once again left fans in awe on Wednesday night by netting his first career NHL goal. It’s a testament to the young player’s growing confidence with each game.
During the Sabres’ game against the Washington Capitals, Benson received a pass from Victor Olofsson below the hash marks and proceeded to make a sensational play, putting the puck between his legs and roofed it past Capitals’ goaltender Darcy Kuemper.
This goal not only marked his first in the NHL, but it’s likely to go down as one of the greatest first career goals in history.
Despite the expectation that he may not exceed the nine-game threshold, Benson’s performance is forcing Buffalo to reconsider sending him back to the CHL.
“I would suspect it’s not going to be an easy decision,” said Sabres coach Don Granato after the Sabres defeated the Blackhawks 3-2 on Sunday.
Following tonight’s game, the Sabres will soon have to decide whether to return Benson to a junior team or use up a year of his entry-level contract. Another key deadline to remember is the 40-game mark, beyond which Benson would gain a season towards unrestricted free agency. Even if he remains with the team for the entire year, there’s a strong likelihood he will represent Canada at the World Juniors.
Prior to turning pro, Benson amassed 181 points in 142 WHL games with the Winnipeg Ice, now based in Wenatchee, Washington.
Olivia Carter revs up excitement in the world of NASCAR. As a dedicated motorsports enthusiast, she covers race results, driver profiles, and the latest developments in the NASCAR world, keeping fans on the edge of their seats.