The Calgary Flames have relied on their young stars throughout the 2014-15 season. What’s most impressive is the team has been without quite possibly the most talented player of the bunch, Sam Bennett.
It was widely speculated that Bennett, whom Calgary selected fourth overall in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, would jump straight to the pros from the junior ranks. However, he suffered an injury to his shoulder during the team’s training camp. As a result, Bennett underwent surgery and was out for several months.
It wasn’t until February 21st, 2015 that Bennett returned to action. Calgary assigned him to his junior league team, Kingston Frontenacs, and he was able to record 24 points in 11 games. A call-up to the NHL was imminent.
Calgary recalled Bennett late in the 2015 season, and kept him on the playoff roster. He scored his first career goal during game 3 of the team’s first round match-up with Vancouver. Although, Bennett wasn’t done there. He would go on to add one more goal in the series, and contributed one assist.
During the team’s loss to the Anaheim Ducks in Game 1 of the Western Conference semi-finals, Bennett scored the Flames only goal of the contest.
Some have gone as far to say that Bennett has the skill set of former 50 goal scorer, and Ducks megastar, Corey Perry.
“He’s gonna be that antagonistic pain-in-the-butt player who’s gonna drive people crazy,” Flames assistant GM Craig Conroy told The Toronto Sun,“That’s what he did in junior. In time, that’s what Corey has become, and if Sam can become anywhere near that, if he plays that style, that brings a real element to the team.”
Like many other Calgary Flames, Bennett is playing in his first playoff series. However, he is still a raw prospect, only playing in one regular-season game. His first real exposure to the professional ranks has come during postseason play.
It’s a great test for Bennett, because he is getting the chance to play, and learn, on the biggest stage possible. Once the 2015-16 season unfolds, he will be in tip- top shape to handle the play of the NHL, which is bad news for the rest of the league.