Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Flames re-sign Sam Bennett to two year deal ($2.55M AAV)

The Flames have finished one of their major pieces of offseason business, signing winger Sam Bennett to a two year deal worth $2.55M annually.

Signing the deal avoids going to arbitration, which was scheduled for this weekend. This contract is a modest $600K raise from his previous deal, which was worth $1.95M and also ran for two years. There are no bonuses and no clauses on the contract, per Puckpedia.

The contract falls in line with what the market was handing similar players. Having picked up 26 and 27 (prorated to 31 in an 82 game season) points in a third line role during his second contract, Bennett wasn’t due for a big raise, but term would be a question. With an already expensive offseason ahead of them, the two parties opted for a shorter, cheaper contract.

The interesting caveat is that Bennett is still an RFA at the end of the deal. As he only has four accumulated seasons of NHL experience – his 12 game 2014-15 only burned a year of his ELC and not his UFA – Bennett would still be a year away from UFA when this contract expires. He’s essentially getting a second “show me” contract, and will be back at the arbitration table in 2021.

RFAs Matthew Tkachuk, David Rittich, and Andrew Managiapane still have to be signed. The Flames have about $7.4M in cap room to accomplish that.

    • 11U 705591 5659480

      Getting rid of Neil, a player who obviously wasn’t working out here, was a move that, on its own, was a case of addition by subtraction. The acquisition of Lucic was a bonus and he is:

      1) tough, physical and intimidating
      2) a good possession player with a majority of defensive zone starts
      3) strong on the boards
      4) durable
      5) a veteran

      • everton fc

        I always liked Lucic. I never liked Neal. The trade, on the surface, looks crazy, and unnecessary. Underneath it all, I like the fact we have Lucic to keep the peace. People keep saying he’s only had a few fights the last few years. “Ditto”, Ferland. And probably Reaves. Guys that can fight, don’t have a lot of fights these days. McQuaid’s another, who doesn’t have to “dance” that much.

          • The Iggy complex

            Neal is extremely slow and just floats around the ice. Plays die on his stick. And he is useless in every other facet of the game. You will be quite disappointed with him.

        • PlayitagainSam

          Lucic can’t play anymore at all and barely engages physically anymore. You’ll see , he will leave you very frustrated and you’ll be asking yourself why a lot of the times.

          • oddclod

            I don’t think so. Loach was expected to be Cam Neely or Rick Tochet in Edmonton, and it deflated him, but he still cares.

            Neal is a sack of dung. We expect Looch to be a 4th liner with upside. Remember we have quality mid to bottom forwards and a mobile defence that pushes the play deeper than he ever experienced in Edmonton, he literally could be a different player entirely with less expectations to weigh him down.

            Edmonton can’t move the puck north unless Connor Dry or Nuge is involved. Neal will be expected to drive play = early retirement.

          • canadian1967

            Lucic had more than 250 hits each of the last 2 seasons. Top 5 both years.
            That’s what he’s here to do, not score, so we won’t look at him as the guy brought in to play top line minutes with McJesus.
            We can just look at him for what he is; a physical presence with cup experience for our bottom 6.
            Perspective IS different here.

          • FLT

            Well put canadian1967. I think both Lucic and Neal will benefit from that change in perspective, but at least Lucic brings something to the table even if he’s not scoring.

          • Raffydog

            What you fail to realize is, Flames fan know exactly what they are getting in Lucic. Nobody expects him to play top line minutes and pot 20-25 goals. We all know here is here for protection, and that’s what the Flames badly need. However, Oiler fans have already slotted Neil on the top line, and are predicting him to score 30 plus goals and lead them to the Stanley Cup. One of these fan bases is going to be extremely disappointed.

      • MDG1600

        The only people in the hockey world who think the Lucic/Neal trade was a good one for Calgary are wearing the rose-colored glasses of a fan here on FN. They are two lousy players with two lousy contracts and Lucic’s contract is the worst of the two. The better solution would have been to simply buy out Neal to get rid of him.

        • Theo/14

          Exactly. All you have to done is turn on any tv or radio station and they will tell you the obvious truth about this trade and which team was the loser. Let me guess though. Calgary fans know more than the rest of Canada and the hockey world? Lol My Lawwdd lucic cant even be bought out while Neal can if it doesn’t work out!! Does that not matter to flames fans!?!?!?

          • Ramskull

            It’s funny how Neal was a deadhorse just the same as Lucic but all of a sudden he’s twice the player Lucic is and a 30 goal scorer to boot. It reminds me of how the media made Phil Kessel the leafs greatest 50 goal scorer to never score more than 40.

          • Porcupine at a balloon party

            Run the buyout numbers with the retained salary for 2021-22 season (2 years left) and you’ll see they are almost identical, particularly if you include the retained salary from Edmonton and add it to Neal’s buyout.

      • Theo/14

        I mean I get it that flames fans are now going to like lucic for the sole fact he is now a flame for 5 more years. He is untradable and cannot be bought out……. BUT let’s cut all the BS of “oh I’ve always been a lucic fan”. “Lucic is a good possession player and I’ve always thought that”

        Noooooo you didn’t no one thought that, not even oilers fans thought that!!! That’s why everyone made fun of the oilers when Chiarelli signed that atrocious contract to a guy who was on the definite downside of his career. Including every flame fan. Lol I just can’t believe how funny it looks now that flame fans think Milan is the saviour and always has been. Lol Holland said the other day he couldn’t find one other team that would trade for Milan and he thought Calgary would be a good fit for both players. Why couldn’t he find another willing participant to take on Milan? Go to Hockey DB to find your answer. Trash away and tell me “not true i always liked lucic and never made fun of him and his contract.”

        • Jobu

          Agreed Theo!

          His contract was ridiculous, and now its ours. But Jobu’ll gladly take an overpaid 250 hit policeman on our third/fourth line than what we saw out of Neal last year; a No-Effort, No-Hands, Defensive Liability, Doghouse, Real Congeal James Neal. And someone else posted a wise perspective about how much better puck moving our defense is compared to Edmontons. This should help Looch get some good quality time hitting opposing defensemen and helping on the offensive side of the puck. Thats the hope anyway.

          While Jobu was hoping Neal would stick it out and turn it around this year, he also had the same hope for Brouwer. Fool me twice, shame on Jobu… Jobu isn’t sad that hes gone, especially after the spat with the coach and the benching last year. You just knew that was going to carry over.

          Jobu is also happy Neal went from a place he didn’t like to a place hes going to hate even more. Hope you enjoy your extra helping of fan hate, Jim! Personally, Jobu is excited to see Lucic plaster a couple people this year. Makes for fun hockey! And he hopes one of those people is James Neal.

        • Flint

          I thought Lucic’s contract ended in 2022-23. That’s 4 years.
          Why can’t he be bought out? If bought out June 2021… the Flames on on the hook for 3,8mill, 4,5mill, 500k 500k. That’s cheaper than if he plays (at 5,25 ea) and less than a replacement player the two extra years.

          Unlike in Edmonton nobody in CGY thinks Lucic is a saviour, nor a top 6 player, nor a goal scorer. He’s here to hit guys, punch guys (if needed) and be a good teammate and not a distraction, which Neal was not the former and was the latter.

          No matter what anyone thinks of Lucic, you cannot say he is not a physical presence, and that’s what we have him for.

  • Seabass

    I love this deal for the Flames. I would like to see Janks moved to the fourth line center role with Ryan and Bennett sharing the third line center role based on where the fase off is. Ryan really turned it on in the second half last year and his underlying numbers are quite good. Lucic and Mangiapane can battle it out for the Left wing on that 3rd line. My guess would be Lucic. Janks and Mangiapane already have some chemistry from back in the A. Lucic and Bennett crashing and banging with Ryan’s positional awareness would create a lot of turnovers. Here’s what I see at the moment:

    Johnny – Monny – Lindholm
    Tkachuk – Backs – Frolik/Dube/random scoring rw from a Brodie deal
    Lucic – Bennett/Ryan – Bennett/Ryan
    Mangi – Janks – Czarnik

    We’ll see how the Peters blender mixes things up, but I am quite excited already!

    • Albertabeef

      Gaudreau – Monahan – Ryan
      Tkachuk – Lindholm – Czarnik/Frolik(if by somehow he’s not traded)
      Mangiapane – Backlund – Bennett
      Lucic- Jankowski – Dube

      Dube got injured 3 times in his short stint. If Lucic is playing protector I want him shadowing Dube. Dube and Janks should play well together and Lucic will hit enough for all three.

    • BlueMoonNigel

      Damn straight except your timeline. Mere hours before the trade I doubt you could find a handful of Flame fans who truly thought Lucic regardless of what jersey he wore would ever get some semblance of his game back and actually earn the money he is paid. The trade proved my point that no matter how terrible a signing GM makes, one of his fellow GMs will bail him out. How poorly must the relationship been between Neal and the Flames that Tre’s best option (only option) was to acquire what is arguably the worst contract in the NHL?

      As I see it, Lucic is a year ahead of Neal. Following his dreadful 2017-18 season, Lucic dedicated the summer of ’18 to getting himself in the best physical condition of his life as well as getting his head in a good place. Re-energized and re-focused heading into the 2018-19 season, Lucic still sucked. Clearly, the game has passed him by. I believe the same is true of Neal. Neither player is effective in today’s NHL.

      While I applaud Tre for attempting to clean up the Neal fiasco post haste and not allowing it to linger as he did with Brouwer, I am not sure he has put the club in a better place to win with Lucic in and Neal out. It smacks of a desperate GM whose options were nil and who was feeling the heat. Ironic that the Tre is starting to look a lot like that ex-GM in Edmonton who made Lucic golden.

      As of now, I don’t think the Flames have improved their club one iota this offseason with the additions of a pair of ex-Oilers and still in cap gloom, so unless Tre can have a sensational August, this club will head into training camp looking very much like the team that skulked off the ice after being thrashed by the Avs in April.

      • The Red Knight

        Lucic sucked and so did the rest of the oilers team , oilers will now definitely must be going for the lotto pick because now one of the best teams in the league just gave one of worst teams it’s worst player, yet any oiler would be better on Flames,and if we had Connor on this roster he d put up 150 points every year, lucic will be twice the player he was is Edmonton. Neal will be boughtout after this season.

      • Porcupine at a balloon party

        Funny you refer to team that got smacked by Avs and not the team that finished first in West second in League after not making playoffs and generally looked VERY good all year.

        Relax, they needed to get feet wet, particularly the coaches which I think was bigger issue than anything

        • BlueMoonNigel

          Same reason I don’t get excited about CFL standings during the summer.

          Wouldn’t be out of the question for the Flames to miss the playoffs in 2019-20 as I don’t see any wild cards coming out of the Pac, and if the Canucks and Coyotes build on their surprisingly strong season last year. Ducks are not going to be in a rebuild for too long as they have some solid kids ready to assume full-time jobs in the NHL come October.

    • oilcanboyd

      Well, considering what we gave up to get Lucic, it is a good deal. Watching Neal float around half dazed and uncaring will solidify that thought. Oilers fans think they are getting a 25-30 goal man. Couldn’t make the first line on the Flames at training camp… He will get 10 goals by accident…

    • Burnward

      There were two reasons I hated playing Edmonton: McDavid and Lucic.

      They were the only things that scared me.

      Neal you can laugh at because he sucks and he’ll probably just slash you and go pout.
      Lucic will smash your face.

  • PlayitagainSam

    Zack Kassian makes 1.95 ml per year and Bennett now makes 2.55?
    Kassian got 2 more goals than Bennett ,he is bigger stronger , better skater and can fight better. I guess Bennett was drafted higher so he deserves more?

      • PlayitagainSam

        You may think he is a better player but stats say differently. They are they same player but Kassian is bigger stronger and better fighter with a better contract. You guys love Bennett but he has been a major flop since coming in the league. You guys used to think he was better than Draisaitl or did you forget that too?

        • oilcanboyd

          Talking about major flops, oiler trolls? Yakupov, a #1 Overall pick, Puljujarvi, a #3 Overall pick…. Benny is as far and away better than those two BUSTS!

        • The Red Knight

          Bennetts on the rise , he may get another chance on the top 6 yet ,he’s playing some pp , I think he was a bit unlucky last season,but he played solid ,better at driving play,better puck management and didn’t take a bunch of bad penalties,I seen a better player despite points , I’ve seen it lots when you see a player start figuring it out and I see it in Bennett s play ,plus he’s pretty good defensively and doesn’t get the credit for that.

      • PlayitagainSam

        If you knew anything about Kassian you’d know that he is an excellent skater. You don’t play with the Sedins and McDavid without knowing how to skate.

    • Kevin R

      Honestly get lost. If you dont like our players & what we signed them for fine. Go to ON & chant & do what ever you get excited about with that perennial draft lottery team of yours. School will be starting soon, here’s a math problem for you to hone up on: What is the win/loss goal differential differences between the Oilers & Flames last year? Hint, you can probably get this information by hitting year end standings for the 2018/19 NHL regular season for the Pacific Division on google.

    • The Red Knight

      That’s because your teams so bad Kassian was given more ice time . 2 more goals one season big deal ,and he’s not a better skater that ridiculous,Bennett would make him look like a pylon.

    • Budgie

      Lucic will be welcomed, Calgary is a good organization to play for. Not much you can say about Edmonton, a team that traded away Gretzky and let Fuhr’s career get ruined from drugs, everyone was doing it not just Fuhr-they really stood behind him-class all the way-by everyone I mean many players in the NHL in the 1980s, not every player-but Fuhr was the sapegoat for the Oils

  • Chucky

    This is a great contract for the team and Bennett. It takes his next negotiation away from any significant contract and that is a big advantage to him and keeps him as a RFA which is very good for the team.
    At some point there is a question who who filed for arbitration to open the buyout window and what concession does he get from the team.
    Nice to be able to post as Chucky again. It is quite conflicting to not know if you are half or double what you were before the Lucic trade.

  • Herringchoker1971

    I’m glad this is done. Hopefully Benny can just relax and play. He’s been saddled with an anchor since year two. At least if he gets saddled with Lucic they can create some chaos. Benny’s game needs some chaos. My hope is that Frolik gets traded and Benny ends up with Chucky and Backlund. Players can then naturally move up in their roles.

    Once Riddick gets signed. Then Tre can focus on finding the extra cash to sign Chucky. Frolik is gone for sure. I just want to wait on Brodie until Chucky is signed and his value increases. I don’t want them to trade Brodie from a position of weakness.

    • Fat Tony

      I think Bennett has been given enough opportunities to move up in the line up and he hasn’t taken advantage. If Frolik gets traded that doesn’t necessarily open the door for Bennett but one of Dube or Mangiapane. Bennett on the right side of Ryan and Lucic is a pretty intimidating 3rd line if you ask me and I wouldn’t anything to hinder that possibility.

  • Budgie

    I hope he is moved to Centre, his natural position. Cap Space is still needed, Rittich, and Mangiapanne need contracts. We are stacked with defenceman, and Dube should be promoted-depending on training camp. Bennett was a good signing-he can earn a raise if he produces in the next two years, motivation built in instead of getting a 4 or 5 yr.

  • Off the wall

    Bennett reminds me of Joy dish detergent. He likes the grease and can tackle the hardest part of the filth in the game!

    It’s weird, but it was my go- to dish soap, yet I can’t find it in any stores anymore. It’s great for unclogging toilets too. Pour a little in with warm water, wait 15 minutes and …voila

    Bennett don’t take no crap, neither does Joy!

      • The GREAT WW

        I always support players that beat up Oilers; like Bennett did to Nurse last year.
        How do Kassian and Lucic like eachother? I guess we’ll find out…..


        • PlayitagainSam

          5.25 ml to play on tour 4th line. Like the old saying goes.once was a crusher, now thinks he’s a rusher but in reality Lucic will turn out to be be an usher! 5 minutes a game max.

          • Luter 1

            You are in for a rude awakening. I watch both Flames and Oilers games because I enjoyed seeing the Oilers painful season. Neal was truly pathetic 98% of the time, really bringing nothing to the table. He honestly looked like a guy with two pulled hamstrings labouring down the ice. When he did get a chance his hands failed him miserably. He didn’t forecheck or backcheck and actually got in the way of other players and seemed to be a real downer for anyone that had to play with him.
            On the other hand, I seen Lucic at least drilling a few guys, multi- million dollar defenceman rushing their passes as they seen their careers being ended by a concussion causing collision. That’s what aggression causes and a little policing for our smaller guys. I’ll take that over Neal every day.

    • KootenayFlamesFan

      Maybe now the physical load will be lifted off his shoulders and he can just play his game without worrying about having to tangle with the heavyweights.

  • Ludis Fanaticus

    I like this contract a lot.
    I like Sam’s comments to the media after even more.

    He really sounds like a guy that is motivated and as many have said, understanding of what can make him a success in the NHL.
    I hope he gets his wish and finds his way into the top 6. If he does, its likely the Flames are having a heck of a year.

    Barba non facit philosophum

  • PlayitagainSam

    You guys are all forgetting or choose not to talk about the fact that I done care if Beal gets one goal . We have rid ourselves of Lucic and the worst contract in the league. You can’t buy him out, can’t move him and have to protect Lucic. So you lost this trade ten fold!!

    • The GREAT WW

      I don’t know why the Oilers were so concerned about protecting Lucic in the expansion draft; it’s not like you have enough forwards worth protecting…..
      CHIARELLI made sure of that.

      Could have had Hall, Eberle, Byng, Barzal etc. To protect…..But CHIARELLI…..


    • The Iggy complex

      Haha really no one cares what you think. You will be back hiding in your little hole with rest of the Oilers trolls in December when Oilers are out of it yet again. All Holland has done is Easter cap space signing a whiter bunch of bottom six players to go along with the 12 they already had. Neal is a downgrade from Lucic so they still only have 3 forwards, 2 d.

  • drogon

    Here you go
    David Rittich: $2.9M for 2 years
    Andrew Mangiapane: $0.9k for 1 year, two-way contract
    Matthew Tkachuk: $6.75M the first 2 years, $8.25M the last 4 years, AAV @ $7.75M. We can expect a nice bump for the cap in 2021 with TV’s contract being re-negotiated.

  • BlueMoonNigel

    Wasn’t it just a few months ago that many Flame fans touted Dalton Prout for being able to subdue Lucic? So Tre gets rid of the $1.99 Prout in favour of the $6M Lucic. Don’t think Tre has a bright future as a CFP, certainly not one I would engage.

    • MOlson

      Lucic equals Hathaway plus Prout (and/or Pelosi when they had to be inserted, which then benched the speed of a Kylington or 1 of Mang, Dube, or Czarnik). Any of Mangiapane, Dube, or Czarnik will be better than Neal. Don’t see this as a bad deal at all.

    • Flint

      I think you’re seriously overlooking the fact that Prout was a defenseman, and in order for him to “subdue” anyone, he needs to be one of the 6 D we have out there. That’s a bad situation. Although I didn’t mind Prout as an #7/8 D.

      Lucic will be one of 12 forwards and can play 8 min a night if need be. Throw some good hits. I don’t care what Edm gets out of Neal. If Lucic finishes the season with 200+ hits and 5 goals and 10 assists we are a better team with him than with Neal. Sure, we’re likely better with neither, but that’s not reality.

      • Flint

        Actually, I should say that I do care what EDM gets out of Neal. It’d be good if he got 21 goals and 10 assists and is the defensive liability that he has been his whole career. Then we get a 3rd and Edmonton gets a player who costs them a goal and some for every goal he nets, and will do more damage than good.

  • everton fc

    Man, the Lucic/Neal swap has really juiced up, and divided, the “Nation”, here!

    Having digested the trade, I can’t say I like it – it was so unexpected – but I like Lucic, and I think he will doo well here, and make all the naysayers, fans, as the season progresses. Not because I want it to work, but I think Lucic suffered like many players in the past, under a crap management team, in Edmonton. Holland and Tippett were good grabs. But Lucic was under a different regime. He’ll thrive here, I think, in a role that Hathaway was never given credit for, until he was 50 games into his second full season.

    Lucic will score 10+ here, and get 20+ assists. Book it.