The fourth overall pick back in 2014 is coming off of his second career professional season and his sophomore campaign didn’t go as well as his first. Last season, Bennett posted 13 goals and 13 assists in 81 games which checked in below his 2015-16 output (18 goals and 18 helpers in 78 contests). He did, however, pick up a pair of goals in Calgary’s first round sweep at the hands of the Ducks back in April.
The fact that he was coming off of a down year and has yet to realize his potential made a bridge deal like this a much more likely outcome than some of the larger contracts that have been handed out to young players this summer. The breakdown of salary by year has not yet been announced but it will be interesting to see if the contract is back loaded as whatever his 2018-19 salary is will represent his qualifying offer that summer.
Bennett will likely begin the season as Calgary’s third line center behind Sean Monahan and Mikael Backlund. That will give him time to continue to work on his game without too much extra pressure being put on him right away. With Backlund eligible for unrestricted free agency in July, the 21-year-old could be in line to slide up into his spot one year from now if the Flames can’t get Backlund re-signed.
After re-signing defenseman Tyler Wotherspoon yesterday, Calgary has all of their players left under contract for the upcoming season. They have a little over $5MM in cap space remaining, per CapFriendly. League-wide, there are now just eight remaining restricted free agents left to re-sign.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.