I don’t know if I’m worthy of those comparisons yet. To be compared to him it’s definitely a huge honour because he’s a Hall of Famer. He’s a guy that I do look up to a lot. - Sam Bennett
PHILADLEPHIA, PA -- Sam Bennett has a little killer in him.
The newest member of the Calgary Flames plays a strikingly similar game to that of a former Flames fan-favourite in Doug Gilmour, who coincidentally doubles as Bennett’s coach with the Kingston Frontenacs.
“It's definitely a huge honour,” said Bennett, who wears Gilmour’s familiar No. 93 for the Frontenacs. “I don’t know if I’m worthy of those comparisons yet. To be compared to him it’s definitely a huge honour because he’s a Hall of Famer. He’s a guy that I do look up to a lot.”
Under Gilmour, the 18-year-old has flourished.
In two seasons under the longtime NHL veteran, Bennett has scored 54 goals and 131 points while collecting 205 minutes in penalties. His 91 points by way of 36 goals and 55 assists this season was second only to Michael Dal Colle among Ontario Hockey League draft eligibles.
“I think you look at the game now,” Flames general manager Brad Treliving said. “He’s a 200-foot player. He plays in all three zones. He brings pace. He brings offensive ability. He brings speed. He plays for keeps. This guy is a competitive player. There’s an edge to his game. When you talk about that, to me, I talk about the heavy game. He’s got a heavy game. He’s got a heavy stick. He’s highly competitive. He brings exactly what you want to see.”
It’s the same style Gilmour brought to Calgary for four seasons, amassing 81 goals and 295 points in 266 games with the Flames from 1988-92.
Picked fourth overall -- Calgary’s highest selection in draft history -- will give Bennett the opportunity to tap Gilmour for a little extra info.
And despite an inclination that he might be destined for the Stampede City on draft day, the two haven’t talked Calgary just yet.
“I haven’t spoken to him about Calgary too much,” said Bennett, who was drafted into the OHL by Gilmour. “But I’m definitely looking forward to having that conversation with him when I get the chance.”
Gilmour’s not the only connection Bennett has to Calgary, either. Bennett is more than familiar with Sean Monahan -- the Flames’ first pick in the 2013 NHL Draft.
The two played opposite each other last season when Monahan was with the Ottawa 67’s.
“I spoke with him before the draft and after talking with him, it made me want to come to Calgary even more,” Bennett said.
“He was a great player. He was tough to play against. He put the puck in the net all the time so he was definitely a great player to play against. Just watching him play I guess, you could see how determined and how skilled he was.
“He just made it sound so good and definitely if I got a chance to play with him that would be unbelievable.”