United States Hockey League (USHL)

Youngstown Phantoms Sign 2025 NHL Draft Prospect Adam Benak

Youngstown Phantoms Sign 2025 NHL Draft Prospect Adam Benak

Adam Benak, who lit up the 2023 Hlinka-Gretzky Cup at 16 years old, signed with the Youngstown Phantoms for next season. He is a 2025 NHL Draft prospect.

Jul 3, 2024 by Chris Peters
Youngstown Phantoms Sign 2025 NHL Draft Prospect Adam Benak

The Youngstown Phantoms announced Wednesday that the club has signed 17-year-old Czech star Adam Benak, who is among the top prospects for the 2025 NHL Draft.

Benak played in the HC Plzen system last season, appearing in 18 games in Czechia’s top professional league at just 16 years old. Primarily, he played U20 hockey with Plzen’s junior team, posting 29 points in 29 games.

Benak burst onto the scene last summer when he produced 10 points in just five games at the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup as an underager, helping the Czechs to a second-place finish in the tournament. He also averaged a point per game at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in the fall before spending most of the rest of the year internationally with Czechia’s U18 national team.

At multiple international events last season, he scored 24 points in 26 games, and was often the Czech team’s best offensive threat despite being one of its youngest players. He really stood out for the Czechs at the U18 Five Nations Tournament last February in Plymouth, Michigan, posting five points over five games.

He also had three points over five games at a disappointing showing for Czechia at the IIHF World Men’s Under-18 Championship in Finland in the Spring. 

The Phantoms announced the signing on the same day the Canadian Hockey League held its import draft. Benak, as a result, was not among the players selected by a CHL team, representing a huge recruiting coup for the Phantoms in landing a player that could be a high pick in the 2025 NHL Draft.

Benak’s skill is undeniable as he has quick hands and high-end vision. He makes plays all over the ice and can find teammates with ease. He is more of a pass-first player, but has the ability to score as well with a quick release and a desire to get pucks to the interior. 

If there’s a knock on Benak, it’s the obvious one. He is listed at 5-foot-7 and 157 pounds. Without a growth spurt, it could keep him out of the first round conversation despite his success so far in his young career. Should he grow a little bit, he'd be a clear-cut candidate to be among the first 32 picks in the draft.

Youngstown will have a number of high-profile talents for next year’s draft that they're tied to including Sascha Boumedienne, who was listed at No. 8 on FloHockey’s way-too-early Top 10 for the 2025 NHL Draft. Boumedienne played his rookie season last year with the Phantoms, but is expected to enroll at Boston University a year early starting next fall. Zachary Morin, who had a quieter rookie season in the USHL last year, is also expected to have a bigger impact and get himself more firmly on the draft radar in 2024-25, as well.

Regardless of where Benak goes in the draft, he should be viewed as an immediate impact player in the USHL. With his skill level and craftiness, he should challenge USHL defensemen and put himself more firmly on the map for 2025.

Over 50 players who were selected in the 2024 NHL Draft appeared on FloHockey broadcasts last season. That number could rise next year, and Benak will certainly be one of those players.

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