According to TSN, the Calgary Flames selected center Sam Bennett with their first round pick, fourth overall in the 2014 National Hockey League Entry Draft in Philadelphia on Friday. At number four, Bennett is the highest drafted player in the history of the Flames organization, even dating back to their years when they were known as the Atlanta Flames.
A native of Toronto, Ontario, Bennett is 18 years old and is 6'0", 178 pounds according to www.hockeydb.com. Like many Canadian hockey players before him, Bennett shoots left.
Last season with the Kingston Frontenacs of the Ontario Hockey League, Bennett had 36 goals and 55 assists for 91 points. His penalty minute total also shows he is a power forward as he had 118 penalty minutes in 57 games. Bennett was also excellent in his own zone as he was a +34. In the playoffs, Bennett had five goals and four assists for nine points in seven games and had 18 more penalty minutes.
In Bennett's first season with Kingston in 2012-13, he had 18 goals and 22 assists for 40 points with 87 penalty minutes and was a -2. Give Bennett credit for making strides in his defensive zone coverage as he improved by +36 in one year in junior in the plus/minus category.
Bennett was also highly praised by Flames president of hockey operations Brian Burke. Bennett has been high on Burke's depth chart significantly over the past few months.
According to James Onusko of the Edmonton Journal, Bennett's strength is his physical presence, puckhandling ability, and outstanding speed. The fact that Bennett did not play in the 2014 Top Prospects Game at the Scotiabank Saddledome might have been one reason Bennett fell to number four in the draft because he could have easily been taken by the Florida Panthers, Buffalo Sabres or Edmonton Oilers.
Bennett will now join Sean Monahan as the nucleus of the Flames' rebuilding project when it comes to their forward talent. Now, according to Flames general manager Brad Treliving, the focus will be to improve the Flames' defense.
Meanwhile the sons of two former Flames were also drafted in the first round. Center Sam Reinhart of the Kootenay Ice, son of former Flame Paul Reinhart, was drafted second overall by the Buffalo Sabres and center William Nylander, son of former Flame Michael Nylander was drafted eighth overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs.