Sam Bennett came to the Calgary Flames as their first round (fourth overall) pick in the 2014 NHL Draft. They decided to let him develop in the minors for the majority of the regular season – with him making just one cameo appearance, where he claimed an assist.
In Calgary’s unexpected post-season, Bennett was called up and played all 11 playoff matches – scoring three goals and setting up another.
This season he’s been a key part of Bob Hartley’s struggling side. The 19-year-old has played 44/45 games, scoring 13 goals and nine assists.
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Sam’s surge to form
On January 11, Bennett scored in a 5-4 loss to their divisional rivals, the San Jose Sharks, now he’s scored eight goals in the last five games. This includes an incredible four-goal rout against the Florida Panthers.
However, prior to the past five games, Sam Bennett had been 18 games with scoring a goal – and only claimed one assist. Before that dry streak, he only had five goals and 13 points to his season record.
It seems an unprecedented rise to form, but following his four goals against the Panthers, Bennett was shifted up to the top line – accompanied by Mikael Backlund and Michael Frolik, per Fantasy Hockey 911.
The rookie has scored in four of the last five Calgary matches – but his team has only won two of those last five games, highlighting their tremendous fall from last season’s success.
What got Bennett all fired up?
In the Pacific Division game against the Sharks, Bennett’s powerplay goal in the second frame tied the score at three-a-piece. San Jose sustained the pressure and pushed on in the third – going 5-3 up with less than ten minutes left – only to concede with just a few minutes remaining.
Calgary went gung-ho with the remaining minutes to try to take the game to overtime. They failed to beat the keeper for the fifth time in the game and frustrations boiled over late on.
During a skirmish in front of the San Jose net, Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic pulled the young Bennett aside. This quickly escalated into a scrap, which Bennett sustained quite well.
Since then Bennett has been flying high on confidence, scoring seven goals from 14 shots in four games. Sure the New Jersey Devils kept him at bay, but he quickly bounced back with a goal against Columbus to prove that he’s still on top form.
This season may not look great for the Calgary Flames, as they most likely won’t make the playoffs, but given the talent in their forward lines – by the likes of Sean Monahan, Johnny Gaudreau and now Sam Bennett – they have a very bright future.