Bennett Turns 10 (Games) and Other Notes

It’s a bit of a slow-news day in the Calgary Flames world, as the hometown hockey team awaits Game 3 in the ‘Dome tomorrow night against the Anaheim Ducks.

But we do have a handful of minor notes, starting off with a larger one regarding Sam Bennett.

Bennett’s entry-level level contract will officially begin to run after tomorrow night’s game, as the 18-year-old will have played 10 games in this season and thus, his deal won’t slide. Instead of being a three-year deal running from 2015-18, it’ll now be a three-year deal that ends following the 2016-17 season.

It’s not a huge deal right now, given that Calgary has no real high-end forward depth and tons of money, cap space and contract room, but it could have implications down the line given the Flames will have one less super-cheap year for the former OHL star.

-Elsewhere, the finals for the three Canadian major-junior leagues have been set. In Flames-relevant news, Flames pick Hunter Smith will begin trying to crush Connor McDavid (likely of the Oilers) a bit early, as his Oshawa Generals take on McDavid’s Erie Otters for a berth in the Memorial Cup. Morgan Klimchuk, Eric Roy and the Brandon Wheat Kings will take on the hot-shot Kelowna Rockets in the WHL Championship series.

-And finally, reports out of Russia (via Elite Prospects) are that Flames pick Rushan Rafikov has signed a two-year deal with his KHL rights-holder, Lokomotiv Yaroslavl. That deal runs through 2016-17. I believe under the terms of the CBA, the Flames retain his rights until 2017 (e.g., four years after his initial drafting since he’s a European prospect), so I doubt anything has really changed regarding his development. Former Flames coach Dave King is coaching Lokomotiv right now, and the Stockton Heat are already well-stocked with defenders even if they don’t bring back any free agents.

  • MonsterPod

    Sitting him out makes financial sense, but sends the wrong message to the team.

    The coaches and players are saying that they believe. A few of the fans may still believe too. If management pulls Bennett, they are saying they don’t believe.

    This is a no-brainer to me. The owners have made a pile of money with these unexpected playoffs, and they’ve saved a pile of money this year with the lowest payroll in the league.

    They’ll just have to give some of those millions to Sam one year earlier, and the cap will be tighter one year earlier.

    Way to go, Rook. Your determination paid off.

    GFG

  • Parallex

    Damnit… I was hoping that we could lure Rafikov over to this side of the pond. Of Calgary’s D prospects Rafikov and Hickey are the only ones I look at and think to myself the “yeah, they could be something more then a 5-6-7”.

      • McRib

        Thrown in Kenney Morrison as well who had 6 points in 10 Games to end the season in the AHL after finishing NCAA Season. Brett Kulak also had a nice finish to the season with 11 Points in 17 Games after rejoining Adirondack from ECHL. Brett Kulak was the second youngest player on Adirondack (could have been playing in WHL this year). Not to mention Kulak grew late and still needs to add 15-20 pounds of muscle. I wouldn’t write him off just yet.

  • I am slowly learning to be okay with this as it looks inevitable but I still lean towards it being a negative. If the Flames can get to at least making this a 6 game series it makes it a little better finacially.

    The one thing I have no idea about that does make some sense is the “sending the wrong message”. I haven’t played anything close to high level hockey so I don’t know if that is actually the case or if perhaps being proactive and not burning it sends a message that they are serious about contending and want to wait to maximize value.

    If I am objective and responsible for the financial aspect as well as making sure that we have a competitive team for 5-10 years, I look at this a short term benefit with probable long term problems down the road. If I am looking at it like “I am a NHL GM and probably only have this job for 4-5 years, I want to make the team better now” then playing him makes more sense.

  • RexLibris

    That Brandon team is frightening. I like the Rockets and they have had a heck of a season, but Brandon annihilated the Hitmen and I’m not sure the Rockets have enough to beat them.

    These are two very good teams meeting and it should be an entertaining series.

    The Greyhounds/Otters series was perhaps the most entertaining hockey I’ve seen this season outside of the Jets/Ducks series.

    I’m looking forward to the next OHL round with the Otters and the Generals. I’d recommend it to anyone interested in watching (more) playoff hockey.

    • McRib

      Agree, Brandon had 15 players who scored 30 Points or more this season. They are so insainly deep they are built to go all the way (Thanks Lethbridge). On a similar note Eric Roy looked great in the last series against Calgary, hope the Flames sign him soon. He has really worked on his defensive game this year, always had the physical tools.

      • RexLibris

        The Greyhounds looked the same way.

        Incredibly deep team, balanced, with tremendous goaltending, superb coaching and one of, if not the best, defenseman in the CHL.

        Yet, Erie took them apart.

        The Rockets don’t have the ace-in-the-hole that the Otters do, so it’ll be a different series entirely, but Josh Morrissey is one heck of a defenseman and Draisaitl has been quietly having a very strong post-season.

        I can’t predict that series, but I can’t say I’d want to. I think it’ll be too much fun to see how it all shakes out.

  • BigMcD

    Lots of flames fans going on oiler blogs and trolling all day. Lots of oiler fans trolling flames blogs too. What does this accomplish? This crap needs to end. The oilers got a generational phenom and got one of the best GMs in the league. The flames are in the playoffs and the oilers aren’t. This arguing over pointless stuff is stupid.

    • FlamesRule

      Yah, he’s already sitting at 2028 of 3758 players to ever lace them up in the playoffs! 9 NHL games and he’s passed 1730 guys – (one poor sap had 0 pts in 64 games).

      Gold Jerry, Gold!

  • Craig

    No matter what happens in this series. The truth is Calgary overachieved and as a fan that is always exciting to cheer for. The best thing for both fan bases (although we dislike each other’s teams) is having a good healthy rivalry. Both oil and flames have good young talent and I look forward to some good battles in the years to come……..and of course the oil winning another cup

    But honestly good for Calgary and there team, go flames and congrats on a successful season

  • Craig

    Isn’t there a possibility that Bennett next deal will be cheaper because it’s coming a year earlier? I mean, you’d expect him to gradually get better each year for awhile, so now, after only two full seasons, you pay him as opposed to three full seasons, where, conceivably he’d put up better numbers in his contract year.