I think with Sam, obviously we were going to sign him. I don’t think there was any mystery there. It’s just a matter of getting him slotted in. I think with Sam, it’s a good situation where you get the contract behind him and as I talked to him the other day, now the real work starts. - Brad Treliving
CALGARY, AB -- Signing Sam Bennett was always a matter of when -- not if -- for Brad Treliving.
So it came as little surprise when the Calgary Flames general manager finalized a three-year, entry-level contract with the team’s top pick, fourth overall, in the 2014 NHL Draft.
“I think with Sam, obviously we were going to sign him,” Treliving said. “I don’t think there was any mystery there. It’s just a matter of getting him slotted in. I think with Sam, it’s a good situation where you get the contract behind him and as I talked to him the other day, now the real work starts.”
Bennett becomes the 12th member of the 2014 draft class to sign a pro deal, joining Sam Reinhart (No. 2, Buffalo Sabres), Brendan Perlini (No. 12, Phoenix Coyotes), Jakob Vrana (No. 13, Washington Capitals), Julius Honka (No. 14, Dallas Stars), Kasperi Kapanen (No. 22, Pittsburgh Penguins), Jared McCann (No. 24, Vancouver Canucks), David Pastrnak (No. 25, Boston Bruins), Nikita Scherbak (No. 26, Montreal Canadiens), Ivan Barbashev (No. 33, St. Louis Blues), Vitek Vanecek (No. 39, Washington Capitals) and Jesper Pettersson (No. 198, Philadelphia Flyers).
Making the Kingston Frontenacs standout the latest to put the pen to paper was a relatively straightforward process, Treliving admitted.
“There’s always little things that you arm-wrestle about,” he said. “There were certain things in there in terms of the bonus structure we wanted to get. Their side was open and a deal got done.
"At development camp, my comment was, at that date there was no real urgency to rush out and get something done. We knew we were going to sign Sam. It fell into place in the last week or so. It’s good to get it out of the way and there are no other distractions for him preparing for camp.
“This is the next step in the process, getting his contract done. Good for him, but now that part can be put to the backburner and his sole focus is getting ready for the year.”
And preparing for Flames main camp come September.
While he’ll participate in Hockey Canada’s summer development camp -- the first step towards the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship -- and a spin at the Youngstars Tournament in Penticton, Bennett’s attention will be on his first pro camp and his first opportunity to crack an NHL roster.
It’s in camp, Treliving noted, where Bennett will determine his destination for the 2014-15 season: Calgary or Kingston.
“The one thing I want to state clearly is there’s no pressure here on Sam to jam him into the lineup,” he said. “My expectation, quite frankly, is I’m preparing myself for Sam to be a junior player this year. Sam’s going to have to make the team and he’s going to have to make a real compelling case to be here. If he does, good on him and good for us. Then he’s earned his way onto the team.
“There will always be talk and speculation leading up to camp. All those decisions come down to training camp, preseason and where the player is. Again, the time of selecting him, this wasn’t a pick that we said, ‘well, we’re going to take Sam because he can make our team in October’. This is long-term thinking. This is long-term planning.
“We think Sam’s going to be a Flame for a long time going forward. Whether that starts this October, those are things that are yet to be determined.”