I have to admit that, although I’ve heard tons of rumors that the Toronto Maple Leafs are interested in the Calgary Flames’ center Sam Bennett, I simply cannot believe that the Maple Leafs would make that deal.
Even this morning I read a rumor that the Maple Leafs have been interested in Sam Bennett for a while. Maybe a couple of years ago, but not now.
I can’t even see it for defenseman Travis Dermott, who’s currently injured. I just don’t think Bennett fits the Maple Leafs’ needs.
Others Disagree: Steve Simmons for Example
Others disagree. For example in the notes at the end of Steve Simmons’ recent Toronto Sun article, Simmons suggests swapping Alex Kerfoot and notes that the Maple Leafs need some grit on the team’s third line. Perhaps, nothing can be ruled out for a trade, but I don’t see this one happening. (from SIMMONS: Human pain for Andy Reid and his family, this close to Super Bowl, Steve Simmons, Toronto Sun, 07/02/21).
[By the way, as an aside, in that article Simmonds was still commenting about his announcement that Auston Matthews had contracted COVID-19. Honestly, I don’t care one way or the other; but obviously, Simmons still smarts over his rebuke by others. As an old guy, just a note to him that he might want to let this one go. You keep reminding people, and I hadn’t thought of it for months; but, now of course, I comment on it again.]
Why the Sam Bennett to the Maple Leafs Seem Crazy to Me
I’m calling the rumor crazy. Granted, if Maple Leafs general manger Kyle Dubas is showing interest, that’s because it’s his job to do so. He needs to follow every bunny trail as a general manager, especially after Wayne Simmonds was injured. Still – nope!
Simply stated, and this is totally my logic employed, from what I’ve seen of how Dubas works, I think the rumors are clickbait. Still, I’m not a hockey insider and I can be wrong.
But when I assess the logic of trading away from this season’s team that is currently first in the NHL’s North Division, I don’t see it making sense. Here are my reasons why.
Reason #1: Sam Bennett Has No NHL Regular-Season Body of Work to Speak Of
People thought Bennett would be a keeper. He was, after all, chosen fourth in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. The Maple Leafs picked William Nylander eighth during that draft. Since then, Bennett hasn’t lived up to anyone’s expectations.
His rookie season (2015-16) saw him post a 30-point season. That’s it. He has a reputation of playing well during the postseason, but I think he gets away with stuff there because the officiating is more lenient during the playoffs.
Reason #2: Sam Bennett Isn’t Better than What the Maple Leafs Already Have
Look at the facts. Bennett’s 2019-20 season only saw him post 12 points in 52 games. Travis Boyd, who’s a depth player for the Maple Leafs, has more points (four points in four games) than Bennett this season.
Kerfoot is WAY better than Bennett and he doesn’t complain about the way his team uses him. I also add that Kerfoot is smart – he’s a Harvard lad – and that means something.
Reason #3: Sam Bennett’s Contract Is Too High
The Maple Leafs have depth players signed for NHL league minimum contracts who could score 12 points in 52 games if they simply played more. What’s Bennett’s current contract? It’s $2.55 million and it expires after this season. He isn’t a $2.55 million-dollar man.
Reason #4: Sam Bennett’s Contract Expires After This Season
As a general manager, Dubas hates being hemmed in – as he is with starting goalie Frederik Andersen, who really is a decent player. Dubas likes contracts with term, and Bennett’s contract doesn’t have it.
Reason #5: Sam Bennett’s RFA Would Need to Be Renegotiated
If the Maple Leafs trade for Bennett, the organization – Dubas specifically – would have to face dealing with Bennett’s RFA status that comes up after the season. By the way, Bennett’s agent is the very same Darren Ferris who shared a sandbox with Dubas two offseasons ago.
Given that Ferris and Dubas have met before – and I’m not thinking that it Dubas’ favorite time, I can’t think Dubas would jump at a chance to do that again. Who would want to go there?
Reason #6: Sam Bennett Might Have to Be Exposed in the Seattle Kraken Expansion Draft
I have no doubt that the Maple Leafs’ organization has already done considerable thinking about who would be exposed during the Seattle Kraken expansion draft. I can’t imagine the team would take on another asset it might have to let go in the upcoming draft.
My logic tells me the Maple Leafs won’t soon be trading for Sam Bennett – it isn’t happening, and here are six reasons why I don’t think so.
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