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No pull-ups for top-ranked prospect Bennett at scouting combine

May 31, 2014, 8:00 PM EDT

NHL Combine Getty Images

Sam Bennett had no problem scoring goals or showing his gritty side this past season with the Ontario Hockey League’s Kingston Frontenacs. The same can’t be said for one element of fitness testing at the NHL Scouting Combine in Toronto.

According to a report from The Canadian Press, the 17-year-old Bennett, who had 91 points in 57 regular season games for Kingston and is the top-ranked North American skater heading into the June NHL Draft, couldn’t do a single pull-up during Saturday’s fitness testing.

“I was definitely disappointed with myself,” Bennett said, as per Canadian Press. “I was wanting to do the best I can in every test. But, I guess, ultimately games aren’t won or lost if you can do a pull-up in the gym.

“I think (what sets me apart) really just a combination of my hockey sense along with my compete level … I think I compete as hard, if not harder, than anyone else.”

A left-shooting center, it seems Bennett still has some growing to do. He stands at 6’0″ and weighs 178 pounds, but doesn’t turn 18 years old until June 20 – seven days before the first round of the draft. But the way he plays the game, the “compete level” as he called it, is an element of his game scouts seem to heavily picked up on.

“He plays the kind of game you think cannot be sustained for a whole season because it’s a high-energy game and compete game at all ends of the ice,” said NHL Central Scouting’s David Gregory, as per Bennett’s profile at

“He ends up playing that game for the whole year and has led his team. He just never stops, and put that with the skill package he has and how well he thinks the game, he’s pretty much a top-notch player.”

  1. danglesnipcelly - May 31, 2014 at 8:26 PM

    how is this possible? 6’0′ 178 and gets 91 points in 57 games in the O but can’t do a pull-up….

    • esracerx46 - Jun 1, 2014 at 2:07 AM

      I don’t think it is. Something else has to be going on. Either throwing it so he’s not drafted by someone. Or an injury. I’m 24, wrestled for 12 years. 5’11 165. And haven’t worked out at all since I was a junior in high school. I was curious to see how many I could do and just did 12. More to this than simply not having the strength to do so.

      • mrpinkca - Jun 1, 2014 at 3:46 AM

        It could also be a case of being really fatigued. These kids are pushing themselves as hard as they can on every single exercise and it’s possible that by the time he got to the pull up bars he was simply out of gas. I don’t know.

    • elmerbrownelmerbrown - Jun 1, 2014 at 9:57 AM

      He is punking the system

  2. martysbetter - May 31, 2014 at 8:32 PM

    That is a seriously concerning lack of strength, speaks to a lack of focus and dedication off the ice…

    • youcallthathockeyblog - May 31, 2014 at 8:40 PM

      How many can you do?

      • cordellanderson - May 31, 2014 at 9:35 PM


    • avscup - May 31, 2014 at 9:49 PM

      Have you ever scored 1 point in the OHL?

      • cordellanderson - May 31, 2014 at 10:02 PM

        Nope :) hey look at that, I can do 100% more pull ups than a future NHLer

      • avscup - May 31, 2014 at 10:28 PM

        Haha! Me too!

      • chicagobtech - May 31, 2014 at 11:43 PM

        100% increase of zero is…zero.

      • martysbetter - Jun 1, 2014 at 12:32 AM

        No, but anyone who has dedicated themselves to a proper strength training regimen (see: aspiring professional athletes) should be able to knock out 10+ wide grip pull ups with relative ease – it doesn’t speak to his ability on the ice but it sure speaks to the amount of time (or lack there of) the kid spends in the weight room…and when you’re trying to make the most physical league in the world you better believe you need a solid foundation to work with.

    • 19inarow - May 31, 2014 at 10:40 PM

      I agree. I can’t think of another 1st overall who was so underdeveloped. Nugent-Hopkins was small, but not like this. I wouldn’t be surprised if he drops to fourth; firsts are expected to start, their first year, and how certain can a GM be that this would be the case?

      But then that’s what was said about a kid called Wayne Gretzky, so….

      • atwatercrushesokoye - Jun 1, 2014 at 3:54 AM

        Nugent-Hopkins did 1 rep on the bench press his year, the bench was 135 pounds. They also mentioned that Gary Roberts wasn’t able to do a pull up during his first NHL camp, seemed to work out okay for him, and I guess he learned from it since now he does fitness training for a bunch of NHL players.

        What’s interesting is that a prospect in the NHL lifts 135 once and he goes first overall an NFL prospect only (only?!) does 15 reps at 225 and it’s considered a major red flag and they’re likely to drop several rounds.

  3. ithasfourtoes - May 31, 2014 at 8:48 PM

    I could actually see this happening if he had already done a bunch of other exercises (which he would obviously try to do to the max, right?).

    Not making excuses, but just a thought. Also, keep in mind pull ups (palms facing away from you) are a fair amount harder than chin ups (palms facing towards you).

  4. bencia823 - May 31, 2014 at 8:53 PM

    Remember when everybody made a big deal of Kevin Durant being unable to do 1 rep of bench press. This isn’t concerning at all. It’s much easier to take a guy like Bennett and make him stronger than it is to take a stronger guy and make him play like Bennett

    • bullwinkle88 - May 31, 2014 at 11:27 PM

      Well said.

  5. dutchman1350 - May 31, 2014 at 8:55 PM

    He’s 17. Could be a late bloomer. Look at his Parents and judge. Some people develop later. I would see this as a positive.

  6. wethog66 - May 31, 2014 at 9:02 PM

    Wow. This is the kind of **** you expect to read about an NBA prospect. Never would imagine reading it about an NHL prospect. I take that back. I can think of 1 NHL player (Alex Semin) I know couldn’t do a chin up.

    But still, professional athletes should be able to do chin ups. Should be standard language in every contract no matter the sport.

  7. httv14 - May 31, 2014 at 9:14 PM

    This makes me feel better about not being able to do a pull up

  8. nicknyhc - May 31, 2014 at 9:17 PM

    Wow. That’s terrible.

    I’m 6′ and 205 lbs and I can bang out 7 or 8.

  9. areaman714 - May 31, 2014 at 9:33 PM

    I’m declaring for the draft.

  10. whammy71 - May 31, 2014 at 10:36 PM

    Who cares…..

    Mario Lemieux couldn’t bench 180 or 220 (I forget the exact weight) at the Pens first practice after being drafted. Everyone was laughing and snickering behind his back. Later that day…once they got on the ice…Mario made fools of them all.

    Same with Kevin Durant from the NBA. Failed his combine tests miserably. He’s one of the best players in the NBA.

  11. c9castine - May 31, 2014 at 10:45 PM

    pretty funny. im 27, out of shape, havent played competitive hockey in 7 years, have a torn labrum, and i just did one.

    that being said, its up to him wether this means anything. hell move past it. young kid – anybody with determination and a proper plan can hit the gym and get bigger and stronger.

  12. shamu1the1whale - May 31, 2014 at 10:51 PM

    Dang, reading this article makes me want to go find a pull-up bar and see if I can a palms-away from me pull-up!! There’s no gym near me right now, dang it!! Well, my guess is that a palms-away from you pull-up is a whole lot harder than a palms-facing you pullup. It certainly looks harder to do…

    • shamu1the1whale - May 31, 2014 at 10:55 PM

      Ok, I just read on the internet: “While Bennett couldn’t do one, Brandon centre Jayce Hawryluk and Czech winger David Pastrnak each did 12.”

      12?!! Daaaayum! That’s a lot!!

    • shamu1the1whale - Jun 3, 2014 at 2:26 AM

      Hey y’all, I just saw an NHL website video where they listed the final pull-ups result for the combine: Listed in first place was Joshua Ho-Sang with 13 pull-ups! That’s awesome! Then after him were the guys who did 12 pull-ups I mentioned above.

  13. hardkor07mn - May 31, 2014 at 11:45 PM

    That’s embarrassing! Good lord ya pu$$

  14. rainyday56 - Jun 1, 2014 at 12:06 AM

    He’ll be a perfect fit with the rest of that “talented” Oilers team. lol

  15. terrier92 - Jun 1, 2014 at 12:21 AM

    Zdeno Chara did 31 at Bruins training camp this year. Freak

    • shamu1the1whale - Jun 1, 2014 at 12:29 AM

      Holy crap. Do you know if they were the palms-away from you type pull-ups? Either way, though that’s an insane amount.

    • ibieiniid - Jun 1, 2014 at 7:48 AM

      Pull ups are easier when you can keep your feet on the floor. Freak indeed.

  16. terrier92 - Jun 1, 2014 at 12:33 AM

    Chara’s pull ups were palms away. The dude weighs 255 a rather impressive feat.

  17. flyerspsu - Jun 1, 2014 at 12:50 AM

    doesnt mean much for his future in the NHL, the kid is gonna be good regardless but it is very surprising that he couldnt do one, if anything his friends, teammates and opponents will be able to hold it against him for years to come

  18. sumkat - Jun 1, 2014 at 3:30 AM

    He’s 17. If a 17 year old is spending more than an hour or two a day at the gym (and not everyday), I don’t think I want a kid wound that tight. I mean, I don’t want him going all Johnny Football, but I’m sure we can find a happy medium

    • flyerspsu - Jun 1, 2014 at 1:34 PM

      hes a top prospect for the NHL who also happens to be undersized, i wouldnt call him wound tight if he went to the gym a lot, actually hes going to need to bulk up and add some considerable size soon anyway so it would have made sense to start

      • sumkat - Jun 2, 2014 at 3:32 AM

        and once he gets drafted, I would fully expect his outlook on hockey to change, and to start to live in the gym. I would expect that into his late 30’s (assuming he stays around that long). I have no problem with him being a kid when still is a kid.

        It is possible to be an elite talent and not be NHL ready as a teenager

  19. obamareallysucks - Jun 1, 2014 at 8:49 AM

    He is still a better person than any low iq, thug speaking inner city punk

  20. mightbegoingtohellforthis - Jun 1, 2014 at 2:07 PM

    According to Wayne Gretzky himself, he always finished dead last in peripheral vision, flexibility and strength, and could only bench press 140 pounds (64 kg). On the other hand, his intelligence and reading of the game was unrivaled, and he could consistently anticipate where the puck was going to be and execute the right move at the right time.

  21. djshnooks - Jun 1, 2014 at 2:27 PM

    Might have been worth adding that one little nugget that this is the first year they have done pull-ups, instead of push-ups.

    This has zero effect on anything.

    • thesportsjudge - Jun 1, 2014 at 7:05 PM

      Because physicality/winning battles for the puck along the boards has NOTHING to do with hockey right? Hell, even a stalemate on the draw when they try to out-muscle one another. I mean, it’s not like he plays cen…..oh, well, there goes that theory.

  22. dkelley1186 - Jun 1, 2014 at 5:58 PM

    Ahahahahaha. He’s gonna have to be worried about being pushed off the puck by the likes of seguin kessel and Cindy. Ahahahahahaha

  23. buddysguys - Jun 2, 2014 at 12:25 PM

    i get it on the who cares side but at the same time i mean 1 pull up come on thats kind of weak for a supposed gritty player. If score 30 or 40 goals who cares though.

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