Should New Jersey Devils Target These 3 Disgruntled Young Players

Vince Dunn #29 of the St. Louis Blues (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Vince Dunn #29 of the St. Louis Blues (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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New Jersey Devils
Sam Bennett #93 of the Calgary Flames (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /

Sam Bennett

Sam Bennett is the definition of an enigma for the Calgary Flames. On many occasions, like a playoff game between the Dallas Stars last season he showed why he was once the 4th-overall pick in the 2014 NHL Draft by scoring 2 goals and an assist. He is oozing with talent. Then there is the inconsistent, penalty marred play that drives coaches and fans crazy.

Since playing regularly in the NHL at the ripe age of 19, he has yet to truly find his niche with the Flames. The Flames have no shortage of talent of forwards on their roster with the likes of Sean Monahan, Johnny Gaudreau, Elias Lindholm, and Matthew Tkachuk. Yet, it’s been maddening that Bennett has had trouble finding any sort of consistency to his game or garnering chemistry with the team’s better players.

Bennett is not a consistent enough to be a top-line winger because when he isn’t scoring he really isn’t driving the play at all. He doesn’t necessarily make his linemates better. He also has a propensity to take way too many minor penalties. Bennett has a staggering 70+ penalty minutes twice in his career already. He’s been moved around from center to wing, yet can’t seem to settle on one position.

Bennett has been very good in the playoffs thus far posting 11 goals and 19 points in 30 career playoff games. You could never have enough guys who perform well in the playoffs. He does have talent to be a solid middle six contributor. He did score a career high 18 goals his first year in the league. He would probably benefit from a change of scenery to get his confidence back. He is still only 24, so there is room for growth. He will never be a perfect player, but a team could live with his flaws if he finds more consistency to his offensive game and by taking less penalties.

Now, would he fit with this Devils team as they’re constructed? If this were the Devils’ from two years ago, I’d take that chance of adding a 24 year old with offensive upside. However, the construct of this team is much different than it was two years ago. Since then, the Devils have added Nikita Gusev, Andreas Johnsson, Nick Merkley and Janne Kuokkanen via trade while prospects like Nolan Foote, Alexander Holtz, Dawson Mercer will all be in line for playing time within the next two seasons.

Even if the Devils end up trading either or both of Palmieri and Gusev, the Devils will have plenty of forwards vying for top-six minutes. If Bennett has a tough time cracking the top 6 in Calgary, he may eventually run into the same problem in Jersey. You could never have enough good offensive players, and he would bring an impressive playoff pedigree to the team. However would he move the needle any more than the Devils’ in house options? If this past off-season was any indication, the Devils like the open competition from within. I think the Devils hold and would not make a move for Bennett.