With four of their top-five scorers this season age 23 or younger, the Calgary Flames have a solid foundation of young core players in place when it comes to building a playoff contending team (and right now, they would be in the playoffs). Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, Matthew Tkachuk and Dougie Hamilton, all part of that young core, and have all been significant contributors to their playoff push this season.
One of their young players that has struggled a bit this season, and especially recently, has been 20-year-old forward Sam Bennett.
On Thursday night he even found himself as a healthy scratch for the team’s 4-3 loss to the Nashville Predators as a result of those recent struggles.
With only 18 points (nine goals, nine assists), a 46 percent Corsi percentage, and only 1.6 shots on goal per game this season it has been a bit of a disappointing season for the 2014 No. 4 overall pick. Especially after he showed so much promise during the 2015 playoffs and a year ago in what was his first full season in the league.
On Friday, Bennett talked about the experience of having to watch from the press box, calling it “really tough.”
“Watching wasn’t fun,” Bennett said, via Kristen Odland of the Calgary Herald. “Everything about (Thursday) wasn’t fun. I don’t want to be in that position again. I want to do everything I can to stay in the lineup.”
The decision to sit Bennett came after a particularly difficult stretch for him that saw him go 10 consecutive games without recording a single point and only 13 shots on goals while playing less than 15 minutes in three of the games. He is expected to draw back into the lineup for Saturday’s Battle of Alberta game against the Edmonton Oilers.
As tough as the experience likely was for Bennett it’s still something that can be beneficial for a young player going through the type of slump he has gone through because it gives a perspective they might not get from being on the ice.
The Flames enter Saturday’s game against Edmonton occupying the second wild card spot in the Western Conference, one point ahead of the Vancouver Canucks.