Could This Be Sam Bennett’s Breakout Year?

CALGARY, AB - OCTOBER 7: Sam Bennett
CALGARY, AB - OCTOBER 7: Sam Bennett /

Calgary Flames forward Sam Bennett looks like a completely different player so far this year (and not just because of his beard). If he can play up to his potential, the team may be looking at serious Stanley Cup contention.

It’s no secret that the Calgary Flames are far from giving up on Sam Bennett. Many (especially Edmonton Oilers fans) have been calling him a bust, but we’ve seen the flashes of brilliance. Any Flames fan will tell you if he can overcome his two biggest obstacles, unnecessary penalties and consistency, he can become a great player. If #93 can turn on that switch right now, the Flames are looking at a real secret weapon behind Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan.

Albeit, zero points in three games is nothing to be impressed with. However, he looks like a completely different player than in previous years. He looks faster and seems to be playing smarter with and without the puck.

Also, to the delight of many, Bennett seems to have found some chemistry with Johnny Gaudreau.

Calgary Flames
Calgary Flames /

Calgary Flames

Many have conspired that Bennett would be a much better player if he were playing with better players. This is backed up by CF% numbers (thanks, Ramz) that compare when he was playing with Brouwer and Versteeg in Edmonton, to when he was playing with Gaudreau and Lazar on Saturday. The numbers are significantly better alongside the latter.

Although last season was abysmal for #93, it looks like he’s turned the corner and is ready to finally hit his stride. Bennett has never scored 20 goals or 40+ points in the NHL, and many peg him as a bust. I think he can and will surprise a lot of people.

He takes a lot of penalties and has had a minus rating in each of his first three seasons.  

It’s no secret he is not great defensively, but if he cleans up his game and gets more disciplined, he will already be much more valuable.

Then there’s the skill factor. The ceiling is still high for the bearded 20-year-old who scored 91 points in 57 games in junior three years ago. He has an elite skill and still has the potential to become a star. The flames better hold on to this guy tight.

Plus, now he will be playing with Jaromir Jagr, and the knowledge to be gained there is priceless.

Next: Curtis Lazar Deserves to Be in The Lineup

I think this is the beginning of a new Sam Bennett. And if it isn’t, we will flip him for James Neal and Deryk Engelland at the Trade Deadline.

Just Kidding.