We continue our annual prospect review and forecast series with Benton Maass, defenseman for the University of New Hampshire. (You can access all of our Capitals Prospect Reports and player analysis on our “Prospects” page right here.)
Maass, a 6’2”, 195-lb, right-handed defenseman, was selected by the Capitals in the sixth round (#182 overall) of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. The 21-year-old, Elk River, Minnesota native has spent the last three seasons playing for the University of New Hampshire. He remains unsigned by the Capitals.
Maass was inserted into the UNH Wildcats starting lineup straight out of high school for the 2017-2018 season, and has been there ever since. As a “true freshman”, Maass played in all 36 games for UNH, scoring four goals, including three power play goals, and contributed 13 assists. Among all Hockey East defensemen, Maass tied for sixth in goals, third in power play goals, and eighth in assists.
Maass’ sophomore campaign did not go as well. He missed a number of games due to a scary injury, and his scoring output was down. Offensively, his shot production did increase during the 2018-2019 season.
For the 2019-2020 season, Maass led UNH with a Plus/Minus rating of plus-7. His 34 blocked shots in 32 games were second-most on the team and his 59 shots on goal were fifth on the team and second among UNH defensemen. He contributed three goals and seven assists.
2019-2020 MONTH-BY-MONTH RECAP AND TREND ANALYSIS
The following month-by-month breakdown is an aggregation of our monthly prospect reports prepared during the 2019-2020 season. You can find all of our weekly and monthly prospect reports on our “Prospects” page in the top menu.
Maass was recognized as a Krampade All-American Scholar by the American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA) on July 30. To qualify as a Krampade All-American Scholar, a student-athlete must attain a grade point average of at least a 3.60 each semester and participate in 40 percent of games played. Maass did not attend the Capitals’ Rookie Showcase Tournament in early September, and did not attend Capitals training camp. For the month of October, Maass had a goal and an assist on six shots in five games played. His lone goal was a power-play game-winner in the season opener against Miami. Maass’ monthly highlight video for October is here.
The 2019-2020 UNH team is relatively young with only three seniors who play regularly. Although they are currently a .500 team (7-6-1 Overall; 3-4-0 Hockey East), they have the 3rd best goals against average (2.14) in Hockey East. Benton Maass, a junior, is the starting right defenseman in most UNH games and on their first penalty kill unit. In November, UNH defeated two nationally-ranked teams – #15 Boston College and #2 UMass. Benton Maass came up big in the defensive zone in both victories. In a 1-0 overtime win against Boston College on November 1st, Maass lead the team with 5 blocked shots. On November 10th, UNH downed UMass 3-1. Once again, Maass had a team-leading 5 blocked shots. These video highlights show several of Maass’s key defensive plays in these big wins, including on the UNH penalty kill. Maass and UNH were in Northern Ireland for the annual “Friendship Four” event during the last weekend in November. They fell to Northeastern 4-0 on November 29 and beat Princeton 3-2 on November 30. A video breakdown of Maass’ November work has been prepared for this report and can be accessed here.
Benton Maass and UNH played only three games in December due to final exams and semester break. The junior defenseman picked up his offensive pace tallying two assists and registering eight shots on goal. The first two video clips in the December highlight reelshow Maass making a thread-the-needle, wrist shot/pass to freshman Chase Stevenson, who deflects it past the Merrimack College goalie. The last two clips come from the final game of 2019 season. Against Army, Maass had his most productive offensive game of his junior campaign. The first clip shows his slapshot blast on goal in slow motion. It was one of Maass’s four shots on goal in the game. The last clip shows Maass initiating a scoring play by hustling to beat an Army forward to the puck deep in the UNH end and advancing the puck up ice with a backhand flip off the boards. UNH sophomore Filip Engarås, a native of Stockholm, Sweden, carries the puck through the neutral zone into the Army end and beats the goalie far side. Overall, Maass has a goal and three assists over the first 17 games of the 2019-20 season, and has fired 27 shots on goal, the second-most among UNH defensemen. Maass’s plus/minus rating of plus-3 is third-best on the team – an impressive stat considering he’s on UNH’s first penalty kill unit.
Maass helped the University of New Hampshire (13-9-2) create some buzz on the national scene. They beat three nationally-ranked teams – #11 Northeastern, #11 Providence, and #7 UMass. Each were in first place in Hockey East at game time. UNH improved their Division I PairWise Ranking to #14. Across these games, Maass continued his solid play at both ends of the ice. In the 5-4 overtime defeat of Northeastern, Maass had an assist, a shot on goal, a blocked shot and a Plus/Minus rating of plus-2. The junior defenseman fired three shots on goal and posted a plus-1 in the 4-3 win over Providence. In home-and-home games against UMass, the Wildcats earned a 1-0 shutout and a 1-1 tie. Maass accumulated three more shots on goal, another blocked shot, and a plus-1 rating. Overall, Maass leads UNH with a Plus/Minus rating of plus-9, while his 26 blocked shots in 24 games are third-most on the team. Additionally, his 41 shots on goal are fifth on the team and second among UNH defensemen. Maass has contributed a goal and five assists.
In early February, defenseman Benton Maass had his most productive offensive game in his three seasons at the University of New Hampshire. Maass fired six shots on goal against the University of Vermont, the most he had ever generated in a UNH uniform. With the game tied 1-1 in the first period, he scored the first shorthanded goal of his college career. In the third period, he upped UNH’s lead to 5-2 with his third goal of the season. It was Maass’s first multi-goal game in the NCAA. UNH went on to win 6-3, and defeated Vermont again the following night 2-1. In the highly competitive Hockey East, UNH’s record is 9-11-2. Among the UNH defense core, Maass has the best Plus/Minus rating (plus-2) and the fewest penalties (two minors) in Hockey East competition. With only two games remaining in the regular season, UNH is battling for a berth in the Hockey East playoffs. They must earn at least two points in the home-and-home series against first-place Boston College this weekend to have any chance of making the playoffs. Overall, Maass leads UNH with a Plus/Minus rating of plus-7. His 34 blocked shots in 32 games are second-most on the team and his 59 shots on goal are fifth on the team and second among UNH defensemen. He has contributed three goals and seven assists.
Game winning goal
Maass was moved down to the second defensive pair this season with the emergence of Max Gildon, who just signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Florida Panthers. It’s uncertain if Gildon, also a junior, will return for his senior season. For Maass, a big senior season is needed.
Maass will wrap-up his collegiate career this coming season, and will be an unrestricted free agent next summer, should he go unsigned by the Capitals.
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