Sam Bennett can now do pull-ups. He tried, but was unsuccessful in that exercise at the NHL combine earlier this year.
Can he make the jump from the junior level to the NHL this year? That remains to be seen.
The Calgary Flames and their prospects are in Penticton, B.C., for the Young Stars Tournament, hosted by the Vancouver Canucks.
If Bennett, selected fourth overall by the Flames in June’s draft and signed to an entry-level deal in July, is to crack a roster spot in Calgary later this fall, this tournament would count as one of the first steps.
Prior to the journey out west, Flames general manager Brad Treliving said he would be “shocked” if Bennett made the team this year.
“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 said, as 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.”
The ball is now in Bennett’s court. It’s up to him to show the Flames brass whether he does belong in the NHL as an 18-year-old, an age he turned just a week before the draft.
“If that’s what they’re thinking right now, I’m going to do everything I can in training camp and in the exhibition games to change their mind and prove to them that I am ready to play,” Bennett said, as per The Canadian Press.
If he doesn’t make the Flames, Bennett would be sent back to the Kingston Frontenacs in the Ontario Hockey League.
In the first game of the tournament in Penticton, Bennett didn’t record a point or a shot on goal.
He could be in line for a breakout game tonight, when the Flames prospects face the Edmonton Oilers’ prospects.
According to the lineup sheet, Bennett will centering a line that includes the skilled and dynamic Johnny Gaudreau — the Boston College product scored this beauty of a goal on Friday — and Michael Ferland, who had his 2013-14 season with the Abbotsford Heat in the AHL cut short due to season-ending knee surgery.