When we last left off, we weren't sure what the outcome was going to be for Sam Bennett. We knew he had a shoulder injury, that he'd played through it for a while, dating back as far as his time in Kingston, and that he was probably going to be out for a while. What we didn't know was if he was going to have surgery or not.
Well, now we know he is.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Flames?src=hash">#Flames</a> Injury Update: Sam Bennett will undergo surgery on his shoulder next week. A full recovery & return to play expected in 4-6 months.</p>— Calgary Flames (@NHLFlames) <a href="https://twitter.com/NHLFlames/status/520317944933277698">October 9, 2014</a></blockquote>
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All the pull-up jokes are real dumb now, huh.
So that rules Bennett out until February at the absolute earliest. Surgery is probably the best move to ensure a proper recovery, and while it sucks that he's losing a lot of development time, it's much more important he return to 100% before playing again.
Actual 100%, not what Bennett felt was acceptable. He played through his injuries because he didn't think they were that bad, so hopefully this is a lesson he'll take to heart.
While it's unfortunate that Bennett, one of the youngest of the 2014 draft class, is going to miss a significant portion of the season, there are a few silver linings to this. One: he's so young, and already so good. And two: he was that good while injured.
So things are going to be okay. Team Canada misses out on one of its top players for the World Juniors, and in all likelihood, this was Bennett's last chance (he's eligible for 2016, but he could very, very easily be on the Flames in 2016). Kingston loses its top player for half the season. It's unfortunate, but this is by far the best move.
There's absolutely no way he can make the Flames when he returns, though. Not only did he suffer a series of nagging injuries at camp, but he's going to be raw and several steps behind everyone else by the time he's ready to take to the ice again. He's still smaller, still younger, and will be completely unfit to take on fully grown men in the midst of an 82-game season. He might get nine games or so, but any more than that would burn a year of his entry level deal, which would be inexcusable considering how little the Flames will be getting out of him on the ice this season.
So he'll rest up, maybe take a couple NHL shifts, maybe not. Then he'll go back to Kingston, probably end up on an OHL playoff team, and finish out his season in junior. He'll heal up and come back to the Flames' 2015-16 training camp at 100%, ready to challenge for a spot, and by then, possibly make the team proper.
Until then, we'll all just have to wait.