Should and can the Boston Bruins acquire Calgary Flames forward Sam Bennett?
There has been growing speculation in Calgary and around the NHL that the Flames could be willing to listen to offers for forward Sam Bennett, the fourth pick overall in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. Bennett’s ice time continues to be erratic and with the Flames missing captain and 2019 Norris Trophy winner Mark Giordano indefinitely and now fellow rearguard Travis Hamonic joining him on injured reserve, Flame GM Brad Treliving is looking for blueline help. The question is, are Flames really ready to give up on the 23-year-old Bennett who is in the final season of a two-year deal that carried a $2.5 million cap hit?
If so, the Bruins could help alleviate their blue line woes and provide some solid prospects in the process. Defensemen John Moore, who has been a healthy scratch in five of the last seven games for the Bruins is available. Moore is in the second season of a five-year deal that carries a $2.7 million cap hit. However, Moore alone is not going get a deal done for Bennett who has four goals and four assists in 37 games and whose best season was his rookie campaign in 2015-16 when he had 18 goals and 18 assists. While Bennett’s production has declined since then, he was still a first-round pick just six years ago and may just need a change of scenery. That being said, he’s also approaching ‘bust’ status so the cost on top of Moore may not be as high as some might think.
One NHL source suggested to BHN over the weekend that Moore, 29, combined with Danton Heinen or Karson Kuhlman and a 2020 third or fourth (which the Flames don’t have) round pick, could be enticing to the Flames. However, the same source believed Treliving would likely start the talks with a similar package that featured Bruins 26-year-old defenseman Matt Grzelcyk who is in the final season of a two-year deal that carried a $1.4 million cap hit. Of course, unrestricted free-agent-to-be Torey Krug would make a ton of sense for the Flames, but the Bruins have let it be known that for now, they plan to keep Krug for another shot at the Stanley Cup and deal with his contract status after the season.
If Bennett was able to find his game and realize his potential, the Bruins could end up getting the scoring winger they need on the second line now and for the future. However, Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney is likely looking for more of a proven scorer right now and that’s why he’s been linked to the big fish on the market New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider. Kreider’s agent Matt Keator met with Rangers GM Jeff Gorton this past weekend to discuss an extension for the impending UFA but there have been no reports yet on how things went. If Kreider decides to stay or the Rangers trade him to another team, a 23-year-old former first-round pick could be a better solution now and in the future, than say a 26-year-old UFA-to-be Tyler Toffoli from the Los Angeles Kings.