The Calgary Flames used the fourth overall pick in the 2014 NHL Draft to select Sam Bennett of the Ontario Hockey League's Kingston Frontenacs, and as the team's prospects gather for summer development camp, the 18-year-old is out to prove he belongs in the NHL as early as this upcoming season.
“That’s gonna be my goal, in this camp and in training camp, to prove that I’m ready and do whatever I can to make the team,” Bennett told the Calgary Sun. "Any chance I get to prove my stuff, I’m going to take it and make the best of it.”
In 57 games at the junior level in 2013-14, Bennett recorded 36 goals, 55 assists and 118 penalty minutes. After making headlines for failing to complete a single pull up at the scouting combine back in May, Bennett is working towards increasing his weight and strength, both of which will be significant factors in terms of whether he's able to hang with the pros come October, regardless of his exceptional skill set.
“My size and strength. It’s going to come and it’s something I’m working on,” Bennett said, adding he's also trying to improve on “the little things that you have to do well, like faceoffs."
Sean Monahan, who was drafted sixth overall by the Flames in 2013, stuck in the NHL out of training camp after hitting the 200 pound mark; Bennett is said to weigh "roughly" 185 pounds, meaning there's still work to be done in order to develop an NHL-ready frame.