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Should the Leafs trade for Sam Bennett?

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A player was healthy scratched, so he must be Toronto bound, right?

Toronto Maple Leafs v Calgary Flames
See? He scores on the Leafs.
Photo by Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images

The minute the Voice of the Flames, Eric Francis said Sam Bennett hadn’t asked for a trade, you knew he was on the block.

To be fair to the man who may deserve it in this instance, he’s never seemed to buy in on this party line. And everyone has stopped pretending since Bennett was scratched from the lineup and banished to skating with the Taxi Squad.

Now that we’re done with the part where the Flames claim he isn’t on the trading block, naturally all eyes turn to the Leafs.

Some plausible reasons he could be traded to the Leafs:

  1. There’s no 14-day quarantine to overcome
  2. The Leafs want a forward
  3. He’s a centre and left-wing, which is useful
  4. He’s young, expires as an RFA and might have been good once
  5. He’s available in a season when not many players are

Some plausible reasons the Leafs don’t want Sam Bennett:

  1. He’s been terrible for years
  2. He’s got a cap hit — prorated down with about 25% of the season gone — of over $2 million
  3. He’s 24, so he is what he is
  4. The Flames will want something useful back, not some guy the Leafs aren’t playing like Alex Barabanov
  5. He’s not good enough, even in his better moments, to give the Leafs what they need

Who is Sam Bennett?

In brief, he’s a good but not great winger who has no shooting skill to speak of. He adds to the offence in a modest way, but he doesn’t actually finish. He’s everything Jimmy Vesey is not. Put them together in a blender and you have a player worth what Bennett is paid.

Calgary has grown disenchanted with him and cut his ice time and moved him down a few lines. He’s responded in exactly the way you should expect: he looks worse.

And yet, the Flames signed him to a deal in July, 2019 for $2.55 million because they thought they had a top six complementary winger, and let’s be real here — they drafted him fourth overall, and they still wanted to believe that wasn’t a mistake.

Should the Leafs trade for him?

No.

I mean, it is that simple, no they should not. They’d need to remove Ilya Mikheyev or Pierre Engvall and say goodbye to anyone earning over Nic Petan money on the fourth line.

Now, I know what you’re thinking because I thought that too. Did the Leafs call up Nic Petan to find a cheap way to fill the fourth line so they could add a top nine forward?

Maybe, but that player does not need to be Sam Bennett.

Trading for Bennett is a very pandemic sort of mistake. There you are in the Metro looking at the tomatoes, and it’s winter, it’s -15 out, and they have one kind that costs how much? And yet you’re telling yourself that these $5.00 a bag romas are better than the cheap Italian canned tomatoes you have at home. They say they’re San Marzano, and they sure look Italian, but you think this nice fresh bag of pandemic-priced “fresh” tomatoes is what you need. It makes it all seem normal to pick the real tomatoes over the ones in the ugly yellow can with the lurid red print.

Nic Petan is that can of tomatoes. His cap hit is a lovely $775,000, he can play a fun depth role, and if you put him on a top line, he has some idea of what to do, and he was not drafted fourth overall, he hasn’t got that baggage, but if you just walk away from this pretence that you need something new, you can just play Petan until Joe Thornton is back and it’ll be fine.

Save your money for when the chocolate is on sale later this month.

Poll

Should the Leafs trade for Sam Bennett?

This poll is closed

  • 51%
    Nic Petan, Nic Petan, does whatever that other guy can...
    (458 votes)
  • 16%
    I don’t know, but I want lasagne now
    (143 votes)
  • 8%
    Wait, I thought we were talking about Sam Reinhart
    (72 votes)
  • 13%
    Might as well just go for Jake Virtanen
    (116 votes)
  • 10%
    Or Nick Ritchie
    (93 votes)
882 votes total Vote Now