48Sam Bennett

WWYD: keep Sam Bennett on the wing?

Glen Gulutzan moved Sam Bennett back to the wing with Mikael Backlund and Michael Frolik owing to the Matthew Tkachuk suspension. The team didn’t have a great game, but Bennett’s performance was better than what we’ve generally seen from him this season: A team-leading CF% of 66% in just over 13 minutes of ice time. Even by eye, he looked more comfortable.

We’ve been debating what to do with Bennett for much of the season. Unfortunately, up until now, it’s mostly been status quo for the 20-year-old sophomore, much to his detriment. Everything about his game has been poor this season: his scoring is down, he gets roundly outshot, and he is visibly frustrated by his lack of progression.

So the question is – should the Flames make this move to the wing permanent?

While Tkachuk will likely go back to the 3M line at the end of his suspension, leaving Bennett on the wing may enable the Flames to fashion three solid forward lines rather than the two they have right now. In addition, the team really needs to Bennett to re-discover some of the mojo he displayed as a rookie last year.

Once Ferland and Tkachuk return, that would bump Bennett down to Stajan’s line. Here’s how the lineup might shake out:

Tkachuk – Backlund – Frolik

Gaudreau – Monahan – Ferland

Bennett – Stajan – Chiasson

Versteeg – Hamilton – Brouwer

This gives Bennett a couple of solid (if unspectacular) linemates and slides Brouwer down to the fourth line. Feel free to swap Versteeg for Chiasson if you’d prefer.

There’s no guarantee this would work, of course, but at some point the team needs to not only figure out how to get Bennett going, but how to ice a third line that isn’t routinely outshot and out-chanced. Maybe this does both.

So what would you do? Keep Bennett on the wing? Or move him back to C?

    • Thunder1

      You have said some dumb things before, but this one takes the cake. Lets bump our number one centre and leading goal scorer to the wing and replace him with a guy we are not sure will ever be a centre with only the playoff stretch drive remaining in our season. C’mon, you can’t really be that stupid.

  • The Penn

    Flames need to quickly secure a playoff spot so that they can bring up our black aces.Then they can experiment with changing there line up .Brower can then be sat out.

  • Burning Ring of Fire

    Unrelated thought – why did the Flames acquire a 1 dimensional player like Lazar? His style does not jive with GG’s possession-based approach. Shouldn’t the team be acquiring players that fit the style and direction that the team is supposedly going? Players like Klimchuk and Janko are known for their strong 2-way play and I can see them fitting in nicely. Wouldn’t it be great to have another possession monster line to compliment the 3M line?

  • Burning Ring of Fire

    Also, as much as it sucks, our $4.5 Million Dollar man cannot sit out because he is an expensive asset who needs to show some value so the team can keep or get rid of him. This sucks because positions should be earned, not given. Unfortunately, he is performing as expected. Management screwed this one up and there’s no hiding for them. Too bad management can’t get a time out.

  • Burning Ring of Fire

    Had one too many pops but noticed the Coil lost to a team that they were built to beat tonight. Too bad that they rebuilt their team on an outdated formula that can’t compete with the best of the today’s NHL. Boo hoo. Gonna really suck when they enter cap hell. The trolls will be quiet tonight.

  • SeanCharles

    Keep him at centre:

    Gaudreau-Monahan-Ferland
    Tkachuk-Backlund-Frolik
    Versteeg-Bennett-Lazar
    Chiasson-Stajan-Brouwer

    Ideally next season Jankowski forces his way onto the team and we have decisions to make.