According to Eric Francis of Sportsnet, the Calgary Flames are denying that forward Sam Bennett has officially requested a trade out of Calgary. This is not to say the Flames are unaware of his discontent, but their stance is that he’s not come to them, made his feelings known to coaches or management and therefore, the team is choosing to move forward as best they can under strange circumstances.
Head coach Geoff Ward commented on the Bennett speculation and said, “As far as Sam and our team goes and as far as Sam and the coaching staff goes, everything is good.” He adds, “He’s a member of our team right now. He’s a valued member of our team. He comes and he gives you what he has every night.”
Francis writes that the Flames organization is not questioning Elliotte Friedman’s reporting that Bennett would like “a change of scenery”. The problem was, it sounds like they found out about Bennett’s unhappiness on Saturday night at the same time the fans did.
Francis reports that Flames’ management is shocked Bennett’s agent, Darren Ferris, would confirm his client was looking to be moved in such a public manner and the team is annoyed, believing that Bennett’s representation didn’t make the rumor up, but that “certified agent could think this is an appropriate way to try effecting positive change for his client.” Ward didn’t want to get involved in that part, saying, “Everything else that’s going to play out is between Tre and Darren Ferris, Benny’s agent. But from our team standpoint, from a coaching staff standpoint, we’re happy he’s here. We know he’s going to come and play hard.”
Still, the hockey club is reportedly quite upset that Bennett hasn’t communicated his issues, nor has he sat down with the coach to own his end of the struggles he feels he’s been going through.
The Flames Have Lost a Ton of Leverage Now
While the coach puts on a happy face, perhaps there are two things that really upset the Flames about all of this. First, what might be most important to the organization is that they finally compete and move forward during the postseason. That’s where Bennett shines and a future team rebuild might be hinging on the fact that Calgary’s flame doesn’t burn out (pun intended) early.
Second, a public declaration by the agent hurts any potential leverage the Flames might have if Bennett is to be moved. Once a team knows a player wants out, unless they have their own troubled asset (ie. Patrik Laine and Pierre-Luc Dubois), it’s hard to get fair value in any return.
The timing is not great either this will inevitably become an unnecessary distraction to the team.
Bennett’s Teammates Aren’t Worried
A handful of players were asked during Monday’s media avail for their thoughts on the Bennett news. Players like Flames forwards Johnny Gaudreau and Dillon Dube said they didn’t figure it would be a problem.
They both know they can count on Bennett to give his best effort each and every night, regardless of whether or not he wants out. In fact, they expect him to work as hard as ever, even if he’s unhappy with his role in Calgary.
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