He played 11 games. A very small number, to be sure. Lingering injuries resulted in surgery resulted in stealing most of his season, and 11 games was all he got out of it. What can one even do in so few?
Sam Bennett played 11 games. He scored 11 goals. He added 13 assists for a total of 24 points. Eight multi-point games, including a couple of four-point games, including a hat trick. Held off the scoreboard just once.
Sam Bennett is not long for the Ontario Hockey League. And with his Kingston Frontenacs' regular season officially over - he sat out the finale, no doubt resting up for the playoffs - he has just a few games left. A few months at most. He won't be back.
This isn't to say he was going to be able to keep up the roughly 2.2 point per game pace over the course of the season (68 goals, 148 points - eat your heart out Connor McDavid, except not because Bennett is six months older than him and McDavid finished his regular season at a 2.6 points per game pace - hey! They could be Calder finalists together next season!). It is, however, to say he is very, very good.
Bennett has outgrown junior. If he can miss almost an entire season, only to come back and score at a pace most of the league couldn't even match (only two players, McDavid and the draft-available Mitch Marner, hit two points per game), then he's certainly not coming back. Not as a 19-year-old. Not as someone who had the chance to add to his admittedly slightly smaller build while recovering from surgery (10 pounds of muscle while recovering, and this is without whatever else he's going to pack on this summer while both healthy and damn well pushing himself to make the NHL out of the gate next season, no questions asked).
The Calgary Flames, for all their possession faults and inexplicable record, are in the playoff hunt - in playoff position - with 10 games to go in the regular season. Next season, they get to add a phenomenal young player at no cost. Depending on how things go, maybe even this season.
But first, the Fronts, sitting at sixth in the Eastern Conference, they open their playoffs against the third place North Bay Battalion, a team with all of five more wins than them. Kingston and North Bay actually closed out their regular seasons against each other, but it was hardly a playoff preview, what with the Fronts' most important player sitting out and the Battalion taking control and cruising to a smooth 6-0 victory.
North Bay's leading scorer is Mike Amadio, a centre Bennett's age who's just over a point per game this season. They have just three guys over a point per game. Kingston has only two: Spencer Watson and, well, you know. That other guy.
To lend further context, the Fronts are the only team in the OHL playoffs to have scored fewer than 200 goals this season. Now, though, they've got their best player, a trade deadline boost acquired for free. So we'll see how that plays out, and if Kingston can be the lower seed to push for the second round, go further.
However long the Fronts' run lasts for, though, it'll almost certainly be Bennett's final games for them. He may not have been NHL ready after being drafted. After requiring surgery, he definitely wasn't.
But gripping the OHL by the throat as he came roaring back to game situations with a vengeance, the fury of someone who's been forced to sit for months on end taking over an entire league in the limited time he was allotted? He didn't want to go back there, and he's not going to let it happen a second time.
Sit back, see how far Bennett helps his Frontenacs go in the playoffs, and get ready for him to wear red.