Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Sam Bennett: Four Autographed Cards

Done deal: Sam Bennett has signed a two-year bridge deal with the Calgary Flames that comes with a $2.55M cap hit - enough to show him the respect of his first-round pedigree, and enough of a message that he has yet to develop into the consistent producer the team would prefer him to be.

After all, he just played his age 22 season - his fourth full-time NHL season - and had his second-highest points-per-game average at 0.38; it was during his rookie season that he posted his best statistics, however, with his highest goals (18), assists (18) and points (36) totals in 77 games, for a points-per-game rate of 0.47.

Both the team and player were happy to avoid an arbitration hearing, as both sides know what the other expects of them, and both are still willing to put forth the effort to get there. Neither side needed to hear the other's gripes.

It's not all dire, however, as he's found a comfortable niche playing alongside Mikael Backlund and Mark Jankowski as an efficient checking line, but the fact that Backlund has remained a 20-goal, 45-55-point player means his wingers should be able to come close to those numbers as well.

The Flames seem to be in a cap crunch, however, and a mid-level salary may have to leave town before the season starts, and the usual suspects are top-six forward Michael Frolik and top-four defenseman T.J. Brodie. Both disappointed in Calgary's five-game elimination to the Colorado Avalanche a couple of months ago, but Brodie was a 24/25-minute defender from 2013-16 and a 23-minute man from 2016-18 and fell to 21:28 last year, which was still the second-highest on a deep dfensive team, but there is reason to believe he either no longer has his coaches' confidence, or may be past his peak (a conclusion I'm not yet ready to get to in his case, considering he just played in his age 28 season).

All that is to say that Bennett may be given a look on the second line a few times next season, and his statistics may improve just from getting ice time with the likes of Matthew Tkachuk, Elias Lindholm, Johnny Gaudreau or Sean Monahan.

I got him to sign four cards for me in black sharpie when he was in town with the Flames last October. Let's take a closer look at them, starting with the two where he's sporting the team's red (home) uniform:
On the left is card #7 from Upper Deck's 2015-16 National Card Day (Canadian Edition) set and Canada's Rookies sub-set, while the one on the right is from UD's 2016-17 Series 1 collection (and is #31 in the set).

There are also two where he's sporting the white (away) uniform, as seen below:
On the left is card #34 from Upper Deck's 2016-17 Artifacts set, while the one on the right is #132 from UD's 2017-18 MVP collection.

He tagged all of them with his current jersey number (93), which makes him an easy addition to my Flames Numbers Project.

No comments:

Post a Comment