54

FlamesNation Mailbag: Back on Bennett

Sam Bennett is the highest ever Flames pick in history, fourth overall. With that comes expectations.

Picking him was supposed to be the beginning of the end of the rebuild. In the #1 ranked North American skater the Flames hoped to have picked up an elite, offensively-minded centre with a mean edge. Someone who could even be better than rookie Sean Monahan, who potted 20 goals. Bennett would build on the centre depth already accumulated with Mikael Backlund and Monahan, providing the Flames with three potentially elite options down the middle.

His brief appearance in the 2015 playoffs, plus a promising yet inconsistent rookie year, provided some of that optimism. Given what we knew, projecting him to jump to #1 C duties so quickly after turning 20 seemed realistic.

And it’s fair to say that has all gone awry. Instead of an elite, offensively-minded centre with a mean edge, the Flames have a struggling, third line winger who takes a lot of awful penalties. That is not good nearly four years removed from being drafted fourth overall.

Here’s how far the project has sunk: Bennett’s game against the Rangers was predictable to the point of comedy. Late in the game, Bennett took an unnecessary, stupid offensive zone penalty, like so many others he had taken this year. The team giving up the shorthanded goal was pretty much out of his control, but it is just his luck that the team would give it up while he was in the box.

If you really could put Bennett’s season in a nutshell, that’s it. The guy can’t find luck if it was right in front of him, but he also doesn’t play well enough to earn a bounce or two headed his way. You create your own bounces, but Bennett just can’t create anything.

The Flames openly expressed frustration with Bennett after the Rangers game, and it’s been a long time coming. With the trade deadline approaching and the playoffs likely being decided by razor thin margins, the team is at a crossroads with their once crown jewel.

Besides what I said above, there’s very few indicators that Bennett is trending in the right direction. His underlying and scoring numbers have both seen little, if any, improvement. He’s slightly move high-event than last year, but that’s both on offence and defence. He might look better in the offensive zone, but he’s sacrificed that for lackadaisical defence.

And that would be passable if Bennett was putting up points every so often, but he’s not. Bennett (and the rest of the third line) had that magical month when he put up 13 points in 14 games, but he’s scored two since. It’s gotten to the point where Glen Gulutzan has been cutting the Bennett line’s ice time for the fourth line. In this case, it’s hard to blame him.

Youth is pretty much the only thing going for him, but it’s hard to look at that as a positive when there’s little he has done to justify optimism. I defended Bennett in early season editions of the mailbags, but as time has gone on, it’s hard to repeat those thoughts.

I’m 50/50 on this matter.

On the “no” side, there have always been players who took their time to develop, and the Flames might think they have one in Bennett. He hasn’t been up to snuff from ages 18 to 21, but stranger things have happened than a player not getting better after those years. Given that the team couldn’t put him in the AHL due to a combination of games played and age, I think there’s the possibility they feel that one more cheap year couldn’t really hurt.

On the “yes” side, it’s pretty much for all the reasons mentioned in the tweet. The Flames aren’t a rebuilding team anymore. There’s no incentive to stick kids in the NHL and let them acclimatize until the team is good again. Perhaps there are many who hate the idea of handing spots to veterans over homegrown talent, but when you have a third line that is a disaster most games, it’s an untenable situation that is costing you games in the long run. If you can dangle Bennett for a player that can actually play and provide value now, it’s a win.

What will the Flames do? I don’t know. Brad Treliving seems to hate the idea of trading away youth, and it would certainly sting to trade away the first pick you ever made as a GM, but the team needs improvement and Bennett is more of a cause than a solution. We’ll see in the upcoming weeks.

I’m sure the Sabres are also not as impressed with Sam Reinhart, but not to the levels the Flames are with Bennett.

Would Buffalo do this trade? Absolutely not. Reinhart is one of the only bright spots with that team and is fifth in team scoring, right behind the players the Sabres can realistically call their core. His struggles this year are likely because the Sabres are a very bad team and not anything personal. A rising tide will lift all ships, and I’d guess their thinking is that Reinhart will be better in time.

If that’s their logic, it’s hard to see why they want Bennett. Reinhart isn’t second overall pick great, but he’s at least something, which is hard to say about Bennett. Would you trade someone who has been reliably scoring about 0.5 PPG during his ELC for someone who hasn’t? It’s pretty much Mr. Burns’ mystery box:

Would I do this trade? Absolutely. Same age, but Reinhart has better results and is actually right-handed.

This is likely the most realistic Bennett deadline deal. Ottawa needs young players of any kind, and they’re likely to be tempted by a player who will remain cheap and could have upside. I think it would take a bit more than just Bennett, as they are probably going to be a bit sore from losing the first in the Duchene trade. Bennett and the 2019 first would probably be what Ottawa’s asking for, but I can’t see the Flames paying that much for just Hoffman.

That’s an assumption that needs challenging.

Let’s look at the best teams in recent memory, i.e. the Penguins (3x Cup champions), the Blackhawks (3x), and the Kings (x2).

For the best of the best, the Penguins and the Blackhawks, they did rely on internal development to get to the top. That is true! It is also true that they were just so lucky enough to suck at the right points in time, when being bad resulted in netting Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Patrick Kane, and Jonathan Toews.

They tripped over their own shoelaces into a winning lottery ticket. That’s not as much proof-positive of the benefits of pure internal development as much as it is the NHL being designed to reward incompetence (if we take a trip up the QE2, we can see how repeatedly drafting high does not necessarily reap rewards if you have morons running the show. How long has Arizona been drafting in the top 10?).

The Kings built some talent with Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty, but they also would not be multiple Stanley Cup champions without trading for Jeff Carter and Mike Richards, at the expense of Wayne Simmonds, Brayden Schenn, Jack Johnson, and two first round picks. They took young, internally developed guys and sent them packing for big name players. They won because of it.

People love pointing at Detroit as the #1 example of the benefits of developing internally, but that proves to be highly overrated under scrutiny. Take a peek at their draft history. Under Ken Holland (1997-onwards), the Red Wings have drafted a whole lot of garbage. They got lucky and built a dynasty with Pavel Datsyuk, Niklas Kronwall, and Henrik Zetterberg in back to back to back years, but there are a whole lot of squandered picks and low ceiling players picked with high leverage picks.

Their prospect pool now ranks in the bottom half of the NHL and they won’t be playoff contenders for a long time. It doesn’t really matter if you heavily use internal development, which the Wings still try to do (their AHL team won the Calder Cup last year), it is more important to draft well and effectively. One can only imagine where the team could be if they didn’t draft guys like Tom McCollum, Riley Sheahan, and Jakub Kindl in the first round. Holland was never the genius the NHL painted him to be; he got lucky in his first three drafts and rode it until he couldn’t anymore.

Certainly development from within is necessary. In a cap era, you have to have cheap, young players who can produce like they should be making five times what they are. The Penguins aren’t champions if they don’t have guys like Conor Sheary and Jake Guentzal on their roster. They also aren’t champions if they don’t trade for Phil Kessel, Chris Kunitz, and Nick Bonino. You can have a healthy dose of both, and the best teams do.

If you look at the Vegas Golden Knights, a team that is 100% not homegrown talent, this falls flat on its face. Trading is a necessary part of roster construction. Thinking in the binary of either “internal development is the only way to build a roster” or “trade away your prospects for established NHLers” is bupkiss. Not to say that the Flames should mortgage the future for whatever they can get on the market, but if they want a leg up on the competition, they’re going to have to send a young player packing. All the best teams do.

  • Derzie

    Good points on the trading to be successful. The problem with it is for every good example, there are 20 bad ones. Low probability of success makes it tough gamble, especially where picks are concerned.

  • Kevin R

    Christian, there is no way a good GM does a 21 year old 4th over all ++ other assets for a 29 year old forward. Not happening in a league that is becoming a young mans league & cap control is critical. If that’s the value, you keep him, lower your damn expectations & develop him & hope he finds that next level while you still have control over the player. He has only started playing on a 3rd line with another one of our young players we have a lot of hopes for in Jankowski. After that, their RW has been nothing but 4th line energy players & unproven rookies & a 46 year old. Give these guys talented RW. We are not deep in young forwards period. We are on D & I would say look at this supposedly vaunted D as the reason we aren’t comfortably in a playoff spot & don’t blame Bennett. Last thing is Flames upper management are very high on Bennett despite what you are saying, they were really impressed with how he handled himself heads up against Kesler last year in the playoffs. Lets be real here, Bennett was one of the few forwards that actually showed up. Treliving needs to get a much better winger for Janko & Bennett. Who knows, if Backlund doesn’t sign, we may be seeing the makings of a whole new 2nd line. Enough of the trade Bennett at his lowest value. Monahan better not struggle or he’ll be run out of town too.

      • Trevy

        How can do either of these when his line mates are a revolving door of mediocre players? Janko’s the first taste of a consistent line mate and now they should be finding a quality winger to round it out

        • Linemate consistency might have something to do with scoring, but that doesn’t explain any of the other regressions in Bennett’s play. How will having a quality RW stop Bennett’s awful penalties? How will any winger fix his poor defensive play? His problems extend to much more than him not scoring in high volumes.

          Just for reference, a lot of the wingers they’ve tried with Bennett do better away with him than with him. Acquiring a RW for that third line is more like putting lipstick on a pig.

          • BendingCorners

            He hasn’t made the progress that we all hoped for but I don’t think giving up on him is the correct reaction. BT and GG know a lot more about how hard he does or does not work on his defensive game; progress there should help with the penalties. Right now he’s a 21-year-old winger scoring at a 30 point pace who sometimes is caught out of position and sometimes is too aggressive physically. There is still a lot there to work with so until the Flames decide to cut bait I’m happy to let him develop on the 3rd line.

          • Trevy

            But he’s only 21…having him with the right winger that’s responsible defensively and provide some offense, neiderreiter for example, might actually help him grow his game. Once his line actually becomes successful, I’m sure he’ll become a better all around player. As Darren Haynes put it, “I had a lot more common sense at 25 than I did at 21.” Another fun fact is Bennett is only 21 to reach 214 NHL games where as Backlund was 24 and Ferland was 25 when they reached that mark. Point is, trading him now is not going to get you a whole lot, give him more time and a proper opportunity

        • freethe flames

          His first year he played with Backs and Frolik are these the mediocre players you speak of? His second year he started with Tkachuk is that the mediocre plye you speak of? He needs to be accountable for his own play.

  • deantheraven

    The way I see it, Tre’s in a tough spot. Keeping him may do more damage than it’s worth. Or, patience pays off and Sam earns a consistent spot in the top 6 moving forward to his next contract.
    On the other hand, moving him now may be the only way to get any return, but his value isn’t exactly 1st rounder at this point.

    Good luck is needed in getting a return on Bennett that looks better now than his potential next season. One more year at a bargain price might be too long if a fair return is never realized.
    However, it does seem more likely that he may never amount to anything greater than a replacement level player. A crying shame.If someone knows how to unlock the mind of a potential superstar, please forward your email address to Treliving@ damnedifido.com

  • Vernon30

    Totally different era, but look at the 1980’s teams. There were plenty of young guys, but without Mullen, Gilmour, McDonald, etc. they don’t win. Maybe that’s an unfair comparison, given the amount of Hall of Famers on that 1989 team.

  • Trevy

    I believe Bennett’s biggest problem is he’s trying to live up to his billing of being a 4th overall pick. He’s been putting tremendous pressure on himself to produce points from the get go. I think being a fixture on the 3rd line now has him doubting his talents and role on the team. He’s trying too hard to make something happen and when it doesn’t, you can see his frustration and he ends up taking dumb penalties. Every time he had a chance to play on the top six, he’s like a kid at Christmas and you then see the potential of what he can be. He’s not the type of player that can carry a line like a Tkachuk, but rather needs to be surrounded with more offensive talent to showcase himself. Ferland is another example of that. Herein is where the problem lies. There’s currently no room on the top six so unless Treliving goes out and gets a bonafide RW to play on Janko’s line, he’ll continue to struggle to improve. A while back I too would of entertained trading Bennett, but he’s only 21 and until he is given a full opportunity to play with high end talent, we don’t know what we have and I’d hate to see him get that opportunity elsewhere and thrive. We’d be trading low on him right now. I would be using Brodie as trade bait along with a prospect right now to find that winger to solidly the third line

    • Mickey O

      Agree. I think a lot of Bennett’s problems are mental. He tries to do too much out there. On other teams he’d be playing a top six role for sure. But GG is highly reluctant to break up the top 2 lines. But you never know until you mix things up.

    • KKisTHEproblem

      If you’re right, they should be putting him on Backlund’s line (Tkachuk plays RW) and test the theory. Move fro to 3rd line RW with Janko and add Mangi, Klimchuk, Stajan or Hrivik and see if the 2nd and 3rd lines get better overall…

  • redwhiteblack

    A #4 overall is usually a slam dunk to add value, if not elite player then at least a good NHLer. After a number of seasons now Bennett is not even a good NHLer. He is not producing offence and is hurting the team with awful penalties. The rest of the team has to compensate for that level of play. Team mates can get tried of that. He has to be at shopped to see what the return can be. Flames probably wont like the return, but he has to be at least in the “For Sale” talk incase there is a better option out there to come back given he could be worth zero next year with a repeat performance.

    • RealMcHockeyReturns

      It has not been that long for Bennett. Compare his points per 82 game average to Backlund’s first 3 seasons may help a bit (some seasons saw injury and other season lock-out shortened). Here goes:
      Backlund (not counting his 23-game 2009-10 start). S1=28. S2=22. S3=41. S4=42.
      Bennett (not including 2015 playoffs): S1=36. S2=26. S3=TBA but trend is down to 27 pts in 82 games. So really he is NOT far off Backlund

  • cjc

    Unless they completely fool someone, don’t trade Bennett. It’s funny that Schenn came up because that might be a good example. Schenn never really started hitting his stride until his 22 yo season, and he got a fair bit of PP time, unlike Bennett, though Schenn wasn’t taking so many bad penalties.

    There is still hope for Bennett, he is only shooting 6.9% and his linemates haven’t been much better (Jankowski 12%, Brouwer 5.6%, Hathaway 5.7%, Versteeg 6.5%, Jagr 3.1%). A dominant 1C he is not, but he could still turn out to be a very useful piece. I wouldn’t move him for a 3rd line upgrade.

    As for Hoffman, a first and Bennett is too much. Hoffman has peaked, Bennett likely hasn’t, even if his peak is lower than Hoffman’s. Yes, trades will help to build champions, but look at the Carter/Richards moves. Those guys were both 26 when LA picked them up; at their peak and lots of tread left (nobody forsaw Richards’ decline).

  • Mickey O

    Giving up on Bennett would be a serious mistake. Sure, he “should” be better because he was drafted 4th overall. Even if he craps out at a 3rd line energy winger, what’s the actual harm as it stands now? What’s done is done, the pick has been spent. As a 3rd liner you’ll have a player in Bennett that never makes any serious money, and yet brings it in the playoffs.

    Get that 3rd line a cheap, speedy winger who can score. Brouwer can’t keep up. Jagr couldn’t keep up. Hathaway and Lazar don’t have the hands. Pick up a guy like Grabner who can absolutely fly, kill penalties, and bury the puck. He could play on Backlund’s line, or on the 3rd line. As other’s have mentioned the line of Bennett – Jankowski – Tkachuk was absolutely dominant in their brief stint together against the Islanders.

    Punting on Bennett would be folly, and probably isn’t even on Burke and Treliving’s radar. Selling low on a cheap, young asset with upside isn’t the way to play the salary cap game.

    • BendingCorners

      Hey Mickey, pretty good analysis. But Bennett might do better (and Janko for that matter) if the RW was a good play-maker or at least good at creating space. If we could pick up a cheaper younger RHS version of Frolik the 3rd line could become dangerous again.

      • freethe flames

        Bennett needs to play with either 2 high IQ players such as Frolik/Backs; maybe Janko/Tkachuk would be along term solution or he needs to play a simple energy line.

    • BlueMoonNigel

      You talk like a pair of 4th round picks will snare Grabner. Kid’s become an elite scorer in a league where scorers are at a premium. No club is going to get Grabner for a song and a shoeshine. They will pay through the nose and then some. Heck, if the Rangers keep winning, Slats will retract that dumb letter and become a buyer.

  • buts

    I say keep Sam, tho he has shown a lack of undisipline and a below level hockey IQ he has a never quit attitude that he showed in last years playoffs. He’s young and Brayden Schenn struggled at this period in his career the same as Sam. This coaching staff I believe is not good for young players except for a few. I’m hoping that next years flames coach that replaces GG helps Sam along.

  • Puckhead

    The answer seems simple enough and had been bandied about on FN for most of the season – put Bennett in a situation where he will succeed. Move him onto Backlunds line and put Tkachuk with Janko. This would allow Bennett to find his game and inject the Tkachuk bump into our 3rd line (giving us a 3rd line that can score).

    Something has to be done to increase the production of the 3rd line. I can’t think of any other option worth trying.

  • Zalapski

    I completely understand the Value of potential and pedigree everyone here goes on about. I love Bennett’s tenacity and I think he’s got a lot more in him. The problem i see is the only scenario that works for Bennett is if he’s moved onto the wing of Backlund. Chucky can move up or down same goes for Frolik. He needs someone else to elevate his game because he’s clearly not able to do it on his own. The downfall is breaking up a line that has been consistently good over the years. I could see him being traded due to the fact he’s the only roster player that’s seems like he could be shopped. The flames have no assets at the moment other than the D surplus.

  • Off the wall

    Does Bennett drive play?

    Before I answer this, (not that I have the answer) I’d like to share a story with you.

    I was coaching a little league baseball team a few years ago.
    We had some kids who loved playing and some who were elected to play because the parents thought it was good for them. All good.

    I watched the kids every practice, some would struggle with simple things, others would excel.

    Two children in particular were having trouble making contact with the ball. I watched and observed. It was apparent that all the bats were too heavy for them. Even the lightest ones we had.

    I tried to imagine how frustrated it made them feel. I’d hate it too, if I couldn’t hold the bat properly, let alone make contact.
    Who wants to play a stupid sport if it isn’t fun, right?

    Solution: I bought some really lightweight plastic balls and provided them with tennis rackets to hold, which were much lighter and had a bigger contact surface.

    Parents at first thought I was hindering their child’s development, by oversimplifying. I told them to be patient.

    Within an extremely short amount of time, they were wacking the plastic balls like a piñata. And they were having fun! It was a relief to see smiles on their faces.

    After repeated lessons on making contact, they gradually increased their ability to hit a baseball with the lightest bat we could purchase. Baseball became fun for them.

    Sometimes we forget to think about the easy solution and expect everyone to contribute equally. But that’s not everyone’s reality.

    Bennett isn’t a play driver, but thinks he’s one. It may have worked in London, but this league is the hardest to play in.

    I’m not sure I have the answer, but if I were GG, I would try to oversimplify his game. Describe what I want to see, how that looks and what makes sense for Bennett. He’s definitely not having success in trying to go through the entire opposition and will his way to the net. Try the pass outlets, get to the net, nothing complicated, just simple North-South play. Forget stats, forget your pedigree, just keep it extremely simple.
    Here’s the kicker—give him a play driver. Tkachuk should get a look on his line. With Jankowski being a rookie, Tkachuk with his veteran laden talent and Bennett’s simple play, great things can happen.

    Bennett doesn’t look like he’s enjoying the game as he once did. He’s frustrated. A bit like a child- in that it’s not coming easy to him anymore.

    I’d think he would be thrilled to have a chance to play with Tkachuk. Their all around the same age group and Tkachuk and Bennett are friends off the ice. Is it worth a try? I think so,
    and perhaps this dispels all the negativity surrounding him, while allowing him to enjoy the game again.

    • canadian1967

      Perfect. Maybe Sam just needs to be a complimentary player on a great line who does all the hard work and feeds off what the others are doing, instead of “driving” a line.

    • Justthateasy

      I agree with your play driver analysis, Wall. Either Chucky or Johnny would be that driver. I am not sure how many times Johnny double shifted on the fourth line because of the injury to Lomberg, but he did boost that line.
      On a side note, it was mentioned today how Chucky works on his deflecting skills. That’s what it takes. you have to practice what areas you want to develop.

    • Nick24

      Trouble is, this is the NHL, not little league base ball. (No disrespect to little league.) If there was any sign at all that pointed to Bennett’s coming around, this wouldn’t be a point of discussion. However, Bennett’s production has been incredibly pedestrian this season, coming in at 1.45 points an hour. Further, this is about in line with what he’s produced up until now. He hasn’t gotten any better in the three years he’s been in the NHL. His relative Corsi numbers have also declined over his three seasons in Calgary (Now resting at -4.7% Relative Corsi.), which would suggest that while the team has gotten better, Bennett has at best, been treading water.
      The Flames need another scoring threat in their forward group. As there is no evidence suggesting that Bennett will be able to become the player we all desired he would be, the Flames would be smart to move on from Bennett if it means that they can get a more consistent threat.

  • canadian1967

    Bennett will be fine. Janko is a rookie, even though he is 2 years older than Sam. When they plug Versteeg on that line it will help so much.
    Bennett is really guilty of trying too hard in most cases. The stick infractions have stopped which shows he is adapting.

  • Jobu

    Sometimes its all about the system. Some players just cant adapt to some systems. Bennett in junior was always an “on the rush” guy. Our third line is the furthest thing from an “on the rush” line. Unless you’re Johnny Hockey, the system just don’t allow for it.

  • canadian1967

    ” Bennett and the 2019 first would probably be what Ottawa’s asking for, but I can’t see the Flames paying that much for just Hoffman.”
    So then Bennett and our 2019 2nd for Hoffman and Pageau?

  • Flint

    Three thoughts:
    1 Sam Bennett is not Leon Draisaitl, but Leon isn’t Leon without McDavid. Leon but a shadow of himself when he’s not with McDavid, and that’s playing with players certainly more talented and experienced than Jankowski and (insert 4th liner here). Sometimes young players can’t carry a line, and Bennett is clearly that player right now.

    2. I’ve said this before and will again. We either give up on Bennett, or we trade for a cheap, veteran, reponsible #3 RW with more talent that what we’ve got. It’ll help the team, it’ll help Bennett and Jankowski. Tommy Wingels for ex.

    We need a plan for Bennett, for the now and the future. Is he always going to be our #3 winger? What do we hope he becomes our #2/3 center? Because right now Bennett is the Brodie of forwards. Shows potential, but he might actually kind of be bad for the role we have for him here, and he’s sure not the player we thought/hoped he was.

    • BringtheFire 2.0

      I think the problem-from an organizational standpoint-is that the organization did have a development plan for Sam, executed it, and this is the result. If the organization feels it gave Sam every chance, then his failure is on him and that’s how BT and Co. will look at it and trade him at the deadline.

  • Chiz

    Somebody had posted the other day about going with the 11F/7D model in games. I would consider tinkering with that, but having the third line as the line with only two consistent players on it (bennett and Janko.) Rotate Johnny, Tkachuk and Ferland through that 3rd line and just maybe you can get it turned into something.

    I would also use Anderson or Wotherspoon as the 7th d, by the way.

  • Jessemadnote

    I think a Bennett trade would be a good comparable to the Simmonds trade, Simmonds was 22 and had 93 points in and 263 pm 240 career games, Bennett is 21 and has 82 points and 160 pm in 215 games.

  • Just.Visiting

    I don’t think we’re going very far with the 3M line and the current third line. I’d give Byng a try on the third line to see if it can turn into a second scoring line, give them more ice time if it works in a 2A and 2B model and look at TB or Versteeg with Backlund and Frolik until next year and then look at Dube as a serious candidate for the left side on the line.

  • Mitchell

    With the current lineup I think GG needs to do some line juggling to get Bennett and jankowski going. Maybe swapping Bennett and Ferland? Or putting Tkachuk on their RW. Either way I think we need to add another player to fill in. On the other hand, if we trade Bennett I think it is essential to get a young player back. In my opinion Galchenyuk would be perfect, we would likely have to add a small piece, but Galchenyuk is a 40-50 point player right now. He’s only 24, and has potential to improve.

  • cberg

    Calgary won their only Stanley Cup by trading away Brett Hull for a solid D. Sometimes it needs to be done. Not sure about Bennett, but if you could get Hoffman for him straight up it’s a no-brainer.

    • oilcanboyd

      “…but Brett Hull could have potentially helped the Flames win many Cups, and could have helped them avoid the seven-year play-off drought that was to come.” Kent Wilson, Feb 8, 2011.

  • Greg

    Hoffman’s a good, top 6 winger, but I don’t see him being the missing piece that pushes the flames from bubble team to contender. Maybe if you can add him straight up for future assets, but not if subtracts someone who, warts and all, is still one of your top 9 forward options.

    It probably cements your playoff spot, but it doesn’t make you a cup contender, so why give up a former top 4 pick that’s still only 21?

    Just cause Bennett isn’t tracking to be the next Dougie Gilmour anymore, doesn’t mean he’s still not tracking ok… seems pretty on pace for a Kyle Turris type career to my eye. Not great for a top 5 pick, but not a terrible player to have on your team.

    In 2 years, that would have netted you no significant short term benefit and likely already look like a bad trade.