Boston Bruins coach Jim Montgomery didn’t want to make the comparison following morning skate.
But he couldn’t completely avoid it, either.
Montgomery certainly has been impressed by the play of Kraken rookie Matty Beniers, a Hingham, Mass. native who will enjoy a homecoming Thursday night when Boston hosts Seattle at TD Garden.
Montgomery had lofty praise for the 6-foot-2, 178-pound center, seeing a skill set from Beniers that is similar to a player that has made quite the name for himself in a Bruins uniform.
“He’s a really good hockey player,” Montgomery told reporters, per team-provided video. “He’s as good defensively as he’s shown offensively. He might even be better defensively. His reads in the D-zone, tracking, and then on the forecheck are high end. I don’t want to compare him to (Patrice Bergeron), but you see some of those qualities as the way he plays without the puck.”
The Bergeron comp for Beniers has been floated plenty of times before for the No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 NHL Draft. And it just so happens that Bergeron was Beniers’ favorite player growing up as a Bruins fan.
“He’s just so good because he’s so responsible,” Beniers told reporters prior to the game, per the Seattle Times. “He plays the game the right way and doesn’t cheat.”
While Beniers has a great deal of work in front of him to reach the same status as the five-time Selke winner, the 20-year-old is putting together a sensational first full season with the Kraken.
Beniers leads all rookies with 16 goals and 34 points as he is the favorite for the Calder Memorial Trophy at the midway point of the campaign.
It’s already been a celebratory week for Beniers, who was named to his first NHL All-Star Game. He also has the Kraken rolling with a six-game winning streak as he has netted a goal in five straight games.
And Beniers will look to continue that trend and do his best Bergeron impression in front of what is sure to be plenty of family and friends as he takes on the Bruins for the first in his career.