Calgary Flames head coach Bob Hartley did the media rounds this week, including an appearance on Sportsnet 960 The Fan’s morning show with Dean “Boomer” Molberg and Ryan Pinder. He covered a number of topics in the 20+ minute interview, which you can listen to on the station’s website in its entirety.
The biggest news item? Probably where Sam Bennett is going to start the season: up the middle.
The fact that he was still a kid and everything, we put him on the wing [during the playoffs]. And I don’t really like this. I like his game, and he showed us that he can play at wing, but I think that we drafted him as a center, and at camp we’re going to work unbelievably hard with Sammy. We’re going to see him in many games, so that we can really test him, we can really teach him. Every training camp is a learning session for these kids, and that’s who he is. I have lots of trust, I have lots of high hopes on Sam Bennett, and I want him at center.
So for those of you scoring at home, that gives the Calgary Flames a centre group that includes Sean Monahan, Mikael Backlund, Matt Stajan and Sam Bennett. You’ll notice that group includes zero right-handed players, so most likely you’ll also see Josh Jooris and Drew Shore – who played some centre last year – lining up in that spot from time-to-time.
At this point, I think you can slot Monahan in as first-line C, Stajan in as fourth-line C, and some combination of Backlund and Bennett as 2C and 3C. Beyond that, there’s a bunch of question-marks on this roster. And not “Oh god, they have no depth!” questions, but “Where do Mason Raymond and Joe Colborne fit on this team?” types of questions.