The Calgary Flames have burst out of the gates under new head coach Bill Peters this season, winning two straight and score 10 goals along the way, after dropping their season opener to the Vancouver Canucks. The Flames came back to blow up the Canucks 7-4 this past weekend and looked VERY impressive in a 3-0 over the Nashville Predators earlier this week. Newcomer Elias Lindholm has seemingly found a fit on the top line with Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan, while another newcomer free agent addition James Neal has also produced an assist in his first three games with the Flames.
One young, offensive Flames forward however, 22 year old Sam Bennett, has struggled so far, going pointless in three games. Consistency has been a struggle for Bennett throughout his entire career, so much so that he’s come nowhere close to replicating his rookie season totals of 18 goals and 36 points back in 2015-16. In his latest 31 Thoughts column for Sportsnet, NHL insider Elliotte Friedman wondered whether or not a change of scenery could work in Bennett’s favor or not. It’s also worth noting that, according to Friedman, there’s real interest out there in Bennett.
Check out this quote from Friedman’s column earlier this week:
A quick whistle erased Sam Bennett’s first goal of the season Tuesday night in Nashville, but he did play 13:27 — his highest of the year. He saw 8:47 and 7:01 in the opening two games against Vancouver. The list of teams who’ve inquired about him through the years includes Anaheim, Montreal, Philadelphia and Tampa Bay. I’m not convinced the Flames want to trade him, knowing he’s 22 and could blossom elsewhere. Just something to watch, as he searches for a fit with a new coach and changed roster.
Interesting. It's still unknown what the Anaheim Ducks, Montreal Canadiens, Philadelphia Flyers and Tampa Bay Lightning offered up in return for Bennett but, as Friedman reports, it’s unlikely that the Flames give up on him just yet. Especially after spending so much time trying to develop him into an offensive player. Then again, we have seen a rash of these types of “scenery changing” trades in the NHL lately. Think the Max Domi and Alex Galchenyuk swap between the Canadiens and Arizona Coyotes this past offseason.
Despite this, there’s still room left for Bennett on the Flames’ roster, but the kid HAS to show what he’s worth this season. There’s a big belief that the Flames’ ill fated pursuit of future Hall of Famer Jaromir Jagr was made specifically to help bring Bennett along in his development. That obviously failed and so now it’s up to Bennett to prove his worth on his own. Good luck, kid.