We continue our Washington Capitals annual prospect review and forecast series with Benton Maass, defenseman for the Minnesota State Mavericks. (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 23-year-old, Elk River, Minnesota native spent four seasons playing for the University of New Hampshire and spent a fifth year of collegiate eligibility due to Covid playing for Minnesota State. He was signed to a one-year deal by the Hershey Bears on May 26, 2022.
Maass was inserted into the UNH Wildcats starting lineup straight out of high school for the 2017-2018 season, and remained there all four seasons. 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 was 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.
Maass played in just 20 games in 2020-21 season due to the Covid-shortened season, recording two goals and two assists. Maass was awarded a fifth year of eligibility due to the pandemic. As a result, Maass entered the transfer portal at the end of the 2020-21 season.
Maass transferred to Minnesota State University for the 2021-22 season, helping the Mavericks to the NCAA Tournament title game. The 6’3″, 201-pound blueliner scored 14 points (3g, 11a) in 42 games for Minnesota State, and collected 51 points (13g, 38a) in 162 career NCAA games.
After signing a tryout with the Bears on April 20, Maass made his professional debut with Hershey in the club’s regular season finale on April 24 versus Syracuse, recording two shots.
2021-2022 MONTH-BY-MONTH RECAP AND TREND ANALYSIS
The following is a compilation of our month-by-month prospect reports for Benton Maass during the 2021-2022 season. You can find all of our monthly prospect reports on our “Prospects” page in the top menu.
As we noted at the end of last season, Maass wrapped up his time with New Hampshire at the end of last season and then entered the transfer portal. He would subsequently transfer to Minnesota State for graduate school and his fifth year of eligibility.
Maverick Hockey Live Podcast is back! Excited to have @puckato host this weekly podcast w/ the guys.
5th year guys @j_mcneely20 & newcomer Benton Maass discuss their decision to play another season of college hockey.
— Minnesota State Hockey (@MinnStMHockey) September 17, 2021
Maass has a goal and an assist in seven games played so far this season. He has been playing on the right side of the third pair so far this season.
Maass turned 23 on November 25. He would play in his first game on November 13 against Bowling Green and would score in the game.
Benton Maass buries the puck in the back of the net. pic.twitter.com/cLISe0EiIM
— Minnesota State Hockey (@MinnStMHockey) November 14, 2021
Maass continues to play more of a defensive game, and is rarely involved in the offense. After recording a goal and an assist in seven games in October, Maass recorded a goal and an assist in eight games played in November. He’s shot the puck 25 times and is a +10 when on the ice. He’s blocked 15 shots in 15 games played. Maass will be a free agent this summer should the Capitals not sign him prior to the free agency date.
Maass continued to play on the right side of the third defensive pair for Minnesota State in December.
For the month of December, Maass played in five games for the Mavericks. He recorded one assist which occurred during a 5-1 win against Bemidji State on December 10. He assisted in the team’s second goal that day. For the season, Maass has played in 15 games, scoring two goals an recording three assists.
Maass continues to hold down the right side the Minnesota States’ third defensive pair. He had six assists in eight games played in January for the nation’s top ranked team (25-5-0).
For the season, Mass has two goals and nine assists in 28 games played, but he has never really been an offensive defenseman. It will be interesting to see if the Capitals look to give him a shot on the right side in Hershey this fall. The Capitals rights to Maass expire this summer.
Maass and Minnesota State won the MacNaughton Cup on Saturday, February 19. The MacNaughton Cup is a trophy awarded annually to the regular season conference champion of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA). The trophy is named after James MacNaughton of Calumet, Michigan, who was an avid supporter of amateur ice hockey.
Maass has been solid on the backend for Minnesota State. He just doesn’t find enough shots. The Capitals rights to Maass will lapse this off-season unless he is signed.
Offensively, another quiet month for Maass, with no goals and no assists in six games played for Minnesota State. For the season Maass has two goals and 11 assists in 40 games played. He’s shot the puck 62 times for a 3.2% shooting percentage. Again, Maass is much more a defensive defensmen.
Defensively Maass has been strong, played 40 of 42 games for the Mavericks and was a +23, 11th best on the team that could be ranked number one when the postseason dust settles.
Minnesota State has reached the Frozen Four at the time of this writing, so Maass’ season has yet to end. It will be interesting to see where things go at the end of the season. The Capitals’ rights to the defenseman expire this summer.
Maass and Minnesota State made a deep run in the NCAA playoffs, ultimately losing to university of Denver in the final. Maass did tally a goal in Frozen Four on April 7 against Minnesota to tie the game 1-1 in the second period.
Assists to Lucas Sowder and Ondřej Pavel pic.twitter.com/9cz0Y3ktdF
— EP Rinkside (@EPRinkside) April 8, 2022
Maass reported to Hershey following the national tittle game. It was officially announced on April 20 that he, along with Garin Bjorklund and Dru Krebs, signed amateur tryout agreements with the Bears.
While Krebs has since been released from his ATO, and Bjorklund has inked a deal with the Capitals, Maass continues with the Bears. We had Maass as a borderline signing for the Capitals, and it could be the reason he is getting the extended look.
Maass ended his fifth collegiate campaign on an uptick. He started on the best defense in the NCAA and had a good postseason. As a result, the Capitals and Bears brought Maass to Hershey for an extended look immediately following the conclusion of his college postseason. In the end, he was not offered a Capitals contract, but did sign a deal with the Bears.
The 2022-23 season will be another “prove it” season for Maass, and he will get the opportunity to do just that, with the absences of Alex Alexeyev (injury) and Tobias Geisser (signed in Switzerland).
By Jon Sorensen
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