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.”
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.