No Calgary Flames player over the past two seasons, save for the now departed Dougie Hamilton, has made more appearances in trade rumour reports than forward Sam Bennett. The former 4th overall pick from the 2014 NHL Entry Draft has struggled since his 18 goal, 37 point rookie season back in 2015-16, but currently has two goals and three points in his first eight games of the 2018-19 season. Last year the 22 year old put up a career low 11 goals and 26 points in 82 games. Cleary, that’s not good enough, but it doesn’t mean that the Flames have given up on the youngster.
On a recent appearance on Montreal’s TSN 690, NHL insider Darren Dreger weighed in on the speculation surrounding Bennett and the rumours that Bennett could be traded, perhaps to the Montreal Canadiens.
Check out these quotes from Dreger provided to us from Sportsnet’s Chris Nichols, pay special attention to the words of Flames general manager Brad Treliving:
“We’ve talked about Sam Bennett potentially being a player in play the last couple of seasons now,” reflected Dreger. “And every time his name is brought up, the general manager of the Flames, Brad Treliving, is quick to shoot it down and just rolls his eyes.
“I understand why he’s hesitant or reluctant because you can see the tools that Sam Bennett provides, it’s just his layer of inconsistency that is difficult for the coaches to have to deal with on an annual basis.
“So I think just looking at the age of the player, time spent in the National Hockey League, I would think that he’s got to be a little bit vulnerable finally; but in saying that, I don’t know why Treliving would just give up on him at this stage.
“I would think though that when he brought in Bill Peters to coach the Calgary Flames, I would expect that Treliving’s view of Sam Bennett would be, ‘Look, I feel like there’s a real good player that is just beneath the surface, so it’s part of your job to try and figure that out, develop a relationship, and let’s see if we can’t squeeze the best of this kid and finally get him to turn that corner.’
“We’ve seen flashes of it this year. I haven’t asked Brad specifically whether or not he’d consider moving him at this point - it’s still so, so early - but from an outside perspective, from those that I talk to who ask about Sam Bennett, they generally like his play.
“So if he’s playing better than he has in past years, then obviously he’s going to extend his time in Calgary unless somebody blows their doors off with an offer they can’t refuse.”
It sounds like, for better or worse, Bennett is in the Flames’ long term plans. Unless, of course, Treliving gets an offer he cannot refuse, but until Bennett starts lighting the lamp with regularity that seems pretty far fetched.