One of the concerns for the Calgary Flames so far this season has been their struggles with staying out of the penalty box. Through nine games, the team has taken 49 minor penalties and are killing penalties with a success rate of only 73.2%. As Postmedia’s Kristen Odland notes, head coach Glen Gulutzan is beginning to bench players who commit too many unnecessary fouls.
Recently, Sam Bennett, Matthew Tkachuk, and Kris Versteeg were all sat down for a long stretch during a game after taking bad penalties, two of which came back to bite them in the form of a power play goal allowed. In particular, Bennett has been a frequent offender as his ten penalties taken leads the entire league. He’s already more than halfway to surpassing his penalties minute total from last season in just the first month of the season alone.
Last season, Bennett was ineligible to be assigned to the AHL as he was still of junior age. That isn’t the case this time around which means that if his penalty troubles continue, Gulutzan could opt to send him down to send him a message. There is precedence for him sending a young player down for that reason too as he did that back in Dallas with Antoine Roussel. With six points through nine games, Bennett is off to a good start offensively but could be even more effective if he can stay out of the sin bin more consistently.
More from the Pacific Division:
- Edmonton defenseman Darnell Nurse has seen his role and ice time scaled back this year and is responding with a strong start to his sophomore campaign, writes Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal. Head coach Todd McLellan acknowledged that due to injuries last season, the team gave Nurse too many tasks and have made a concerted effort to scale back on those this season. As their top blueline prospect, McLellan also added that the team still plans to give him more responsibility over time. Nurse has a goal and two assists through eight games so far this season while averaging 17:19 per night, down nearly three minutes per contest compared to 2015-16.
- Vancouver wingers Alexandre Burrows (neck) and Derek Dorsett (shoulder) could be ready to play in time for their next game on Wednesday in Montreal, reports Iain MacIntyre of the Vancouver Sun. Both players have missed the last four games and are currently on injured reserve. The Canucks sit dead last in the NHL in goals per game with just 1.78 so even though Burrows and Dorsett aren’t big offensive contributors for the team, they still might be able to give Vancouver a boost as they embark on a six game Eastern road trip.
- The Coyotes announced that they have signed defenceman Kyle Capobianco to a three year, entry-level contract. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Capobianco was Arizona’s third round pick (63rd overall) back in 2015. He’s off to a strong start with Sudbury of the OHL this season with four goals and seven assists in 12 games so far.