The Calgary Flames are reportedly getting interest from around the league for Sam Bennett. With Bennett not having much success in Calgary since being drafted fourth overall, does a trade make sense?
Let me start by saying that I am not going to advocate for or against the Calgary Flames trading Sam Bennett. The easy reason for this would be that I think that should be up to you, the reader. The real reason is I simply don’t know. This is one of those situations where you feel like no matter what, you are probably making the wrong decision. Sam Bennett is stirring up interest from several teams though, so this is something worth discussing further.
Taking a look at Bennett’s time with the Calgary Flames and you will easily identify why all of us fans are so frustrated with him. Drafted fourth overall in the 2014 NHL Draft, Sam Bennett was projected to be a top-six power forward who could put the puck in the net. He was going to be a key piece to the Flames future. Things have not gone as expected to this point, which brings us to today and the question of if it is time to finally give up on him or not.
Per Elliotte Friedman, the list of teams who have inquired about Bennett’s availability includes Montreal, Tampa Bay, Philadelphia, and Anaheim (please no). Friedman notes that the Flames have been reluctant to trade him, given the amount of potential that he still possesses. This is obviously something the Calgary Flames need to consider when looking at any trade. Sam Bennett is still just 22 years old. There is plenty of time for him to grow into the player he was drafted to be.
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Brad Treliving has been very patient with Sam Bennett so far in his career. After a great first season, Bennett has managed only 26 points in each of the past two years. Still, you get the feeling that Treliving does not want to make the mistake of trading away a young guy before he reaches his full potential, *cough cough* the Edmonton Oilers with Taylor Hall, to name one example.
Looking at the non scoring statistics for Bennett, and he has actually played progressively better each year. Bennett had a career high in takeaways last year and has never had a negative giveaway/takeaway ratio. He also enjoyed a career high in hits and face-off win percentage. I also like that ten of his eleven goals were at even strength. Obviously, you would like to see more goals, but this is still a good sign. Overall, there are improvements being made. You get the feeling that it will all come together for him sooner rather than later.
I think that Sam Bennett has actually looked very good this year. He is playing fearlessly and more physically than I have ever seen him play before. I feel that if Sam Bennett continues to play this way and focuses on making an impact by finishing his checks, it could be very beneficial for the Calgary Flames.
If Sam Bennett gets traded, the Calgary Flames will be taking on the risk that he develops elsewhere. I would say it is more likely that the Flames continue to be patient with him and hope he continues his improved play this year. Sam Bennett will be a restricted free agent after this season.