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With next to nothing happening in the hockey world, I thought this would be as good of a time as any to profile members of the Calgary Flames.
I'll be commenting on their performances last season as well as projected role and expectations moving forward.
I've profiled four Flames thus far, with T.J. Brodie being the most recent
Today we're going to take a closer look at Sam Bennett.
71 games played, 27 points (13 goals, 14 assists), 13:17 average time on ice
1.57 points/60, -0.16 CF% Rel, -10.45 GF% Rel, -0.06 xGF% Rel, 98.30 PDO
Sam Bennett's season was somehow disappointing yet successful. It was disappointing in that the former 4th overall pick didn't take a step forward offensively as a 22-year-old, even on a team that finished 2nd to only the powerhouse Tampa Bay Lightning in goals.
There were positives, though. He contributed a respectable 27 points in 71 games (31 per 82) while throwing his weight around at a higher rate than all but Garnet Hathaway. He also generated more high-danger scoring chances per 60 than *checks notes* everyone on the team.
He was perhaps the mainstay on a 3rd line that was mostly successful (and flat-out dominant when Austin Czarnik was also on it). The one real knock was a lack of discipline. Bennett finished 13th on the team in 5v5 minutes played and yet nobody took more minor penalties than he did. He has to cut those down.
Bennett recorded 4.63 HD chances per 60 in 2018-19, which was 29th most in the NHL and more than Chris Kreider, Zach Parise, Gabriel Landeskog, Sean Monahan, Tkachuk, and many more players who live just outside the paint.
Last season Bennett played 3rd line minutes at even-strength, saw a little bit of power play time, chipped in some goals, and threw his body around. I expect the exact same this season, although it sounds like he'll be used on the right side. No, not to get Andrew Mangiapane into the top-9 (as he should be). To ensure Milan Lucic gets minutes. A 3rd line with Lucic and Bennett would be extremely physical. It would also likely be extremely inefficient in terms of creating offense (Bennett and Lucic are dependents and I don't think Jankowski can do that kind of heavy lifting), but that's a story for another day.
This is about Bennett's role which, again, I don't see changing at all. He's not good enough to play up in the lineup on a nightly basis and the Flames aren't paying him $2.55 million per season to play lower. I'd bet on ~30 points over a full season, with potential for more if Mangiapane takes over for Lucic as LW3.
numbers via naturalstattrick.com and hockey-reference.com
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