If Sam Bennett is truly on the trade market, expect the Toronto Maple Leafs to be a part of any rumors that speculate where the forward will land. On Friday, during the Hockey Central show, NHL insider Chris Johnston came on and said he believes a trade is certainly possible and that Toronto could be in the mix.
Reports over the past few days suggest a Bennett trade out of Calgary might be inevitable. Insiders like Darren Dreger have noted that nothing is imminent, but with Bennett being a made a healthy scratch on Thursday night for the Flames, speculation is at an all-time high.
Both Dreger and Johnston believe there is plenty of interest in Bennett and Johnston said the Maple Leafs might be a part of the group of teams potentially kicking tires. He noted:
I think even the Leafs have some level of interest in Sam Bennett. I don’t know if they have the right piece to send back that would make that kind of trade palatable, but there are teams out there kicking tires naturally on a 24-year-old player.
Johnston discussed Bennett’s inconsistencies, but also noted that he turns it on around playoff time and that will be something other teams are interested in. For the Maple Leafs, that’s certainly something they could use as the team is rolling along during the 2020-21 regular season, but doesn’t exactly have a strong track record of playoff success. If they get in, a player like Bennet could come in handy.
What Would the Cost for Bennett Be?
It’s hard to know what Calgary will ask for if they do make a deal. Some have noted the Flames want full value — whatever that means — and others have said a return must include a draft pick.
If the Flames and Maple Leafs are going to do a deal, salary will be a big factor. Bennett doesn’t make a ton ($2.55 million) but a player like Travis Dermott — who has been rumored as a piece the Leafs might be willing to move — makes only $874K. One-for-one, that’s not a deal the Maple Leafs can do. And, the Flames might not even be looking for a player like Dermott, nor should it be assumed they see a trade like that as fair value.
Things with Bennett are about to get interesting. If he sits on Saturday night as the Flames take on the Edmonton Oilers, pundits everywhere will be adamant that a trade is coming. The question about where Bennett winds up will dominate the headlines.
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