The Calgary Flames returned forward Sam Bennett to the Ontario Hockey League’s Kinston Frontenacs the club announced Saturday.
Bennett, who hasn’t played this season, was in Calgary recovering from surgery to repair a torn labrum.
“After the fourth month it gets a little annoying,” Bennett told the Flames website. “Wherever I play I’m ready to go. I don’t feel hesitant at all out there. I guess it’s just a matter of getting my confidence back up again.
The 18-year-old was finally cleared for contact last weekend and spent the week practicing with the Flames prior to Saturday’s decision.
Bennett had 36 goals and 91 points in 57 games before the Flames selected him fourth overall last June.
He has not played a meaningful game since April 1 when his Frontenacs were bounced from the first round of the OHL playoffs.
Once his OHL season is over, Bennett will be eligible to re-join the Flames or their AHL affiliate in Adirondack.
Saturday’s move allows Calgary to hold on to the first year of Bennett’s entry-level contract.