As if there weren’t enough whispers surrounding Calgary Flames forward Sam Bennett, his healthy scratch last night did not help. The news emerged well ahead of the Flames’ game on Thursday that Bennett would not play and TSN’s Darren Dreger reports that speculation swelled across the league that this implied Bennett was available for trade. Bennett’s play has improved of late and the player himself even told the media that the scratch came as a surprise. However, with Bennett wanting out of Calgary – though he would not confirm a formal trade request – perhaps the Flames want to look at other internal options who could take Bennett’s place, as well as protect the health of their trade asset. With that said, Dreger warns not to get too excited. He says a trade is certainly not imminent, which harkens back to the Flames own admission that they would not rush to trade Bennett and may not move him at all if they cannot find the right deal.
- As for the possibility of a trade involving Bennett and another player on the block, New York Rangers defenseman Anthony DeAngelo, there are mixed reports. On Wednesday, Bob McKenzie reported on the NBC Sports broadcast that the Calgary Flames were among four or five teams that had interest in the “reclamation project” that is DeAngelo. A talented, but polarizing player, DeAngelo could be of interest to any number of teams, so even a Calgary team with good defensive depth would not be a major surprise. However, Sportsnet’s Flames beat writer Eric Francis dispelled the rumors of Calgary interest in DeAngelo. He also reiterated that the team will take their time with a Bennett trade and will not rush into a deal for another player on the rumor mill.
- The other teams mentioned by McKenzie as kicking the tires on DeAngelo: the Anaheim Ducks, Detroit Red Wings, and Los Angeles Kings. As rebuilding teams, taking a chance on the talent and youth of DeAngelo makes a ton of sense for any of these clubs. Considering that DeAngelo has already cleared waivers as well, Detroit or L.A. could also convince New York to add a draft pick to the trade, while Anaheim may be more interested in the Rangers retaining some of DeAngelo’s $4.8MM salary.
- Despite an impressive win over the rival Montreal Canadiens on Thursday, the season has not gone as planned so far for the Ottawa Senators. After adding some veterans to the roster this off-season, the team hoped the influx of experience and talent combined with their considerable youth and upside would result in more wins. Thus far, they have the league’s worst record at 2-8-1. As a result, changes could be coming to the roster. The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch reports that one major change could be a quick flip of veteran center Derek Stepan. Stepan was acquired right before training camp in a trade with the Arizona Coyotes but has failed to make much of an impact for the Senators. He has just three points and -7 rating through ten games, averaging just two shots per game and on pace for the worst possession numbers of his career. It is believed that Stepan is as unhappy with his role in Ottawa as the Senators are in his production. A separation could be coming soon since the veteran still has value across the league, especially on an expiring contract. Stepan, 30, is a durable, two-way center who has scored at a 40-point pace or better in each of nine NHL season prior to last year.