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Matty Franchise - B
After spending most of last season on the shelf recovering from the shoulder injury that prevented from doing a pull up and falling to the Flames at the draft Sam Bennett made the team out of camp in 2015-2016 and ended up playing 77 games both on the wing and finally as a center to somewhat mixed results. While he did manage to compile an impressive 36 points (18-18-36) in his rookie season, a large number of those points came on the wing of Backlund, who makes everyone better (which is something I will get to at a later date). On the other hand, only 8 of those points came on the PP (3-5-8).
Possession wise he was sub 50% (48.8) as was most of his team but unlike most of his team he actually had a positive effect relative to his team (+1.02% CFRel). He did have the advantage of a high zone start percentage (54.2) but this is to be expected given his rookie status. The good news is that he didn't waste those zone starts as evidenced by his positive relative possession rate. Scoring wise he was right at the top of the bell curve relative to the team (+0.04 GF%) which, again, is perfectly fine.
What isn't included in the numbers is his intensity. Everyone hates playing against him and when you have a guy like that on your team then you want to keep him. No one likes playing against Bennett and that's one of my favorite things about him. Recently announced head coach Gulutzan flat out said this during his numerous interviews after this hiring was announced. He did allude to some concerns voiced by the veterans about his usage under Bob Hartley but with a new coach that already loves the way he plays there's a very real chance that Bennett will be even better than he was in his rookie season and avoid the sophomore slump that Monahan and then Gaudreau avoided previously.
Samwell9 - B+
I think it is crazy that as good as Johnny Gaudreau has been this far into his NHL career, Sam Bennett has the potential to be even better. That seems surreal as of right now, but in time such a thing may come into fruition. Bennett had a solid rookie season, not spectacular but a solid entrance into the league. Given that he missed almost a whole season last year due to shoulder surgery, the fact he managed to play 77 games and post 36 points is good news. He had a couple scoring droughts, but often this was during periods where he did not have as much ice time and played with less talented line-mates. He also was terribly unlucky, a lot of posts and great saves prevented him from at least a few more goals. Some games he was a total wrecking ball too, one of my favourite games of the year was the one where he just ran around hitting every Oiler he could. Like Matty said, Gulutzan's words inspire promise that we will be seeing more of Sam Bennett and hopefully Gulutzan is the right coach to help develop Bennett into reaching his elite potential. Bennett had a good rookie year, looking forward to seeing what is next, I am giving him a B+.
HockeyGoalieEh - B
Bennett had himself a nice little season. Given the scoring, the slightly below average possession numbers can be excused. His ability to draw penalties was fantastic. It would have been fantastic if the Flames could have capitalized a bit more. Of course he can't be blamed for that as he performed adequately on the power play.
He's still incredibly young and is likely bound for improvement. At the moment he makes a great second line option on a team that desperately needs help just about everywhere. It wouldn't be surprising to see him pass Sean Monahan as early as next season.
Sam Bennett's first full season in the NHL was clearly a success. While he did have 2 prolonged slumps of 7 and 10 games without points, he started to show why the Flames invested the #4 pick in him. He had a solid 36 points, 18/18 and 8 of those points were via the PP (3 goals, 5 assists). For a player who's got the flash of a serious goal scorer, he also isn't afraid to play physical. Surprisingly his 110 hits put him 3rd on the Flames for 2015-16. Young, goal scoring potential and able to toss his body around. Sam Bennett's 2015-16 was a good look at what the future has to offer. Oh, and there was also that 4 goal bonanza against the Panthers. Not a bad season at all.
BizzleJ - B
Sam Bennett for me had a great season. He scored 18 goals and 18 assists for 36 points in 77 games. While those aren't Panarin numbers, they are pretty good for a rookie. He did go through one major slump of about 10 games I think but Sam has shown that he can score nice goals, and has also set up some nice goals. He is also gritty and doesn't back away from an incoming hit. I think Sam will definitely mature nicely with the Flames if they keep him around. I give him a B.