Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
“It’s been great so far… I would love to re-sign” Simon Benoit speaks about his time in Toronto
By Joseph Zita14 days ago
After signing a one-year, $775K contract as blue-line depth with the Toronto Maple Leafs in late August, Simon Benoit got an opportunity to play and has since run with it.
Brad Treliving signed the 25-year-old defenseman late in the off-season after not receiving a qualifying offer from his former team, the Anaheim Ducks, an organization he spent the previous five seasons with. He split playing time between the AHL San Diego Gulls and the Ducks between 2018-19 until last season, and it made little to no sense for a rebuilding Ducks team to part ways with a player who was only 24 at the time.
Luckily for Toronto, they saw something in Benoit to offer him a contract, even if it was just for blue-line depth at the time. He has exceeded every expectation since becoming a Maple Leaf, and his style of play is beloved in the city because all the fans of this team want is some players who play hard every night.
He isn’t a flashy player – we all know that by now. He is a big defenseman, 6’4, 215 lbs, who loves to let people know how big he truly is. He throws the body, blocks pucks for his goalie, and for someone who has a big frame, he is a pretty decent skater as well. He knows his role. He doesn’t try to force anything, knows he won’t impress in the offensive zone, and for somebody who has been between a second and third-pairing defenseman this season, he has done a solid job alongside Jake McCabe for the most part.
In a recent article by Sportsnet’s Luke Fox, Simon Benoit spoke about his time in Toronto thus far and had nothing but positive things to say.
“It’s been great so far. I really appreciate my time here,” Benoit said to Fox. “I would love to re-sign. But I don’t think about it. I just think about my game tonight,” he added.
Benoit has not just exceeded expectations thus far with Toronto, he has become an instant fan favourite due to his play style and love for animals, among many other things.
He takes pride in his style of play, as he should. “It’s always fun, right? Like, for me, like the most fun games against the best players. When you get to play against McDavid, Crosby, Ovie, all those big names, and you get to stop them? That’s where I get my pride,” Benoit said to Fox. “Because I’m not the guy who’s gonna deke everyone and go score a goal. But if I can take them away, that’s my pride, right?” He added.
Benoit also won many fans with a quick speech after receiving the game belt after the team’s win in Anaheim in early January.
Benoit will be a pending RFA at the season’s end, so it’s not like him returning is a far-fetched scenario. But given his love for the city and the team, and Giordano, Brodie, Lagesson, and Liljegren are all up for a contract, maybe both sides can work out a deal that is not another one-year contract.
(Stats from hockeydb.com)
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