Former first-round Calgary Flame picks in the Stanley Cup Final

New York Rangers v Florida Panthers - Game Six
New York Rangers v Florida Panthers - Game Six / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
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The Stanley Cup Finals' final round commenced this Saturday evening. The Florida Panthers are now up by a game against the Edmonton Oilers. The Panther's lineup includes two former Calgary Flames teammates. In the 2014 draft, the Flames chose OHL forward Sam Bennett in the first round at fourth overall. Two years later, in 2016, Matthew Tkachuk was drafted sixth overall.

Reintroduction

Teams change, rosters shift, and year-end standings fluctuate. Win to lose, retool to rebuild—this is the endless cycle of being a hockey fan. Tkachuk and Bennett are from a former Flames era, an era that included household names like Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monohan.

Two years ago, Gaudreau scored in overtime against the Dallas Stars to end the seven-game series. The Flames went on to lose in the second round and have missed the playoffs the last two seasons. The roster from their last playoff push has undergone extensive changes, including the two former Flames, who are currently facing off against their former provincial rivals this round.

That season, Tkachuk hit 100 points for the first time, registering 104 points in 82 games. Following his successful regular season performance, he signed an eight-year contract with the Flames and was subsequently traded to the Panthers. The trade was for Jonathon Huberdeau and MacKenzie Weegar. This took place within days of Gaudreau becoming a Columbus Blue Jacket.

Earlier in 2021, Bennett was traded to the Florida Panthers from the Calgary Flames. Bennett had been struggling before the trade, managing only 4 goals and 8 assists in 38 games. He was traded with a sixth-round pick in the 2022 Draft for Emil Heineman and a second-round pick in the 2022 Draft.

Playoff Contribution

While the Panthers, on paper, achieved a decisive win this weekend in Game 1, there are still at least three games left to play. They will likely aim not to be outshot in those games as astronomically as last night at 33 - 18 shots.

In the first game, Sam Bennett assisted Evan Rodrigues's second-period goal. He beat Cody Ceci along the boards behind the goal line, and a quick pass in back to the front of the net gave the Panthers a padded lead going into the third.

Tkachuk has 5 goals and 19 points in 17 playoff games this postseason. He has led the Panthers in assists in both the regular and postseason. Of those 14 playoff assists, 6 have come from the power play. Connor McDavid leads the league in playoff assists with 16. Tkachuk is tied for fourth with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, as the first player that is not on the Oilers.

Sam Bennett has contributed 6 goals and 11 points in the postseason so far, and last night a huge hit on Connor McDavid.