#7: Sam Bennett
Team: Calgary Flames (NHL)
Drafted in 2014, Round 1, Pick 4
Last Year’s Ranking: #8
Sam Bennett jumped one spot in our Top 25 Under 25 for 2019 and if it weren’t for a few additions to the team (Noah Hanifin & Elias Lindholm) he may have moved up even further. Yes, you read that properly. I (Mark) typed that Sam Bennett would have been higher. My how things have changed for Bennett and my view of the moustachioed 23 year old.
Calgary and Bennett just agreed on a new, two year contract that will pay him just over $5 million dollars during that two year term and his play last season certainly earned him the deal. Bennett played in 71 games with the Flames last season and posted the second highest point total of his career (27), but it wasn’t his scoring that has people talking. It’s his grit. Look, his offence may develop (he is only 23), but his physical presence on the ice is what has been the most valuable part of his game. Bennett threw 121 hits last season (the second highest of his career) and spent a career “best” 93 minutes in the penalty box. All of this while being bounced around the lineup and while he was trying to find his role on this team.
If Bennett can add just a LITTLE more offence to his game he will be a steal at $2.5 million a season. Calgary is short on truculence right now and Sam Bennett seems to be a guy who enjoys filling that role. Fans, the Flames and writers (me) surely have to be pleased with Bennett’s development over the last season and his new found role is something that many of us may not have foreseen, but should appreciate.
What do you think of Bennett’s final ranking?
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