Sam Bennett has a lot of potential and Calgary obviously believes in him after selecting him with the fourth overall pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, but Flames GM Brad Treliving thinks it will take some time before the 18-year-old forward’s ready for the NHL.
“There are a lot of guys who can play in the league. But [the real questions are] can you help the team, and is it good for you?” Treliving asked, per Sportsnet. “I would be shocked [if Bennett sticks]. He will have to come in here and show beyond a shadow of a doubt that, not only is he ready to be here, but this is what’s best for him.”
Treliving isn’t singling out Bennett though as he’s equally measured in his expectations of top prospect Johnny Gaudreau.
“I’m not down on Johnny Gaudreau at all. We’re dying for ability,” Treliving said. “But we’ve seen it here before, where it’s, ‘Here’s the saviour.’ The expectation for me is… playing in the American League is hard. Stepping right in from the college to the NHL? Very few do it.”
Gaudreau is the reigning Hobey Baker winner, but questions have been raised about his ability to produce in the NHL given his height.
This could be Treliving’s way of trying to reduce the pressure on Calgary’s top prospects, but it also sounds like he wants to guard against rushing the young forwards.
Last night in Los Angeles, Kings forward Milan Lucic received a match penalty after skating the entire width of the ice to give San Jose’s Logan Couture a two-hand shove to the face.
Lucic didn’t hurt Couture, who had caught Lucic with an open-ice hit that Lucic didn’t like. Couture’s smiling, mocking face was good evidence that the Sharks’ forward was going to be OK.
This morning, Lucic was still in disbelief that he was penalized so harshly.
“I didn’t cross any line,” Lucic said, per Rich Hammond of the O.C. Register. “Believe me, if my intentions were to hurt him, I would have hurt him.”
While Lucic knew he deserved a penalty, he said after the game that he didn’t “know why it was called a match penalty.” His coach, Darryl Sutter, agreed, calling it “a borderline even roughing penalty.”
And though former NHL referee Kerry Fraser believes a match penalty was indeed warranted, Lucic said this morning that he hasn’t heard from the NHL about any possible supplemental discipline.
Nor for that matter has Dustin Brown, after his high hit on Couture in the first period.
In conclusion, it’s good to have hockey back.
Related: Sutter says Kings weren’t ‘interested’ in checking the Sharks
A statement from Raffi Torres:
“I accept the 41-game suspension handed down to me by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety. I worked extremely hard over the last two years following reconstructive knee surgery to resume my NHL career, and this is the last thing I wanted to happen. I am disappointed I have put myself in a position to be suspended again. I sincerely apologize to Jakob for the hit that led to this suspension, and I’m extremely thankful that he wasn’t seriously injured as a result of the play. I also want to apologize to my Sharks teammates and the organization.”
A statement from San Jose GM Doug Wilson:
“The Sharks organization fully supports the NHL’s supplementary discipline decision regarding Raffi. While we do not believe there was any malicious intent, this type of hit is unacceptable and has no place in our game. There is a difference between playing hard and crossing the line and there is no doubt, in this instance, Raffi crossed that line. We’re very thankful that Jakob was not seriously injured as a result of this play.”
Silfverberg says he expects to play Saturday when the Ducks open their regular season Saturday in San Jose.