Sam Bennett said he is unsure if he will play for the Calgary Flames on Saturday because of his recent trade request.
“I hope so,” the forward said Friday leading up to the game against the Edmonton Oilers at Scotiabank Saddledome (10 p.m. ET; NHLN, CBC, SN, TVAS, NHL.TV). “I mean I think I will be, but at this point I really don’t know. I guess we’ll find out tomorrow.”
Bennett’s agent, Darren Ferris, told Sportsnet on Saturday that his client wants to be traded. The 24-year-old played at the Winnipeg Jets on Monday and Tuesday but was a healthy scratch in a 4-1 loss at Winnipeg on Thursday.
Bennett addressed his trade request Friday but would not reveal why he wants to leave the Flames, who selected him with the No. 4 pick in the 2014 NHL Draft.
“I think I’m just going to keep that, what happened between my agent and [Calgary general manager Brad] Treliving, between them,” Bennett said. “I don’t need to really get into that too much. My job right now is just to play hockey and do my job. I think I’m going to just leave everything else to them and they’re going to figure it out.”
Flames coach Geoff Ward said the decision to scratch him Wednesday had nothing to do with the trade request. He said his decision on putting Bennett in the lineup will be made later Friday.
Bennett said he was caught off guard by being scratched and wondered if it was more than a hockey decision.
“It surprised me,” he said. “I won’t go into detail, I guess, about what was said. I didn’t see it coming. I walked in and I was on the taxi squad and not dressing with the team, not skating with the team, so I was surprised by that. I don’t really know the reasoning, if they wanted to play games or whatever, but my focus is on playing my game when I get the chance, and that’s all I can control.”
Bennett has one assist in nine games this season, after scoring 12 points (eight goals, four assits) in 52 games last season.
“People can say whatever they want in the media,” he said. “We have a really close team and I have all the support from the guys. I didn’t think it was a distraction or anything. The players were all handling it really well. It didn’t even really come up too much. I obviously don’t want to be the subject of a distraction to our team. I care about these players. I don’t want it to be like that.”
Bennett said he is looking forward to possibly playing the first of Calgary’s 10 games this season against Edmonton, its Alberta rival in the Scotia North Division.
“I think physical games bring out the best in me,” he said. “I love these type of games. I love playing in playoffs, I love intense games. I’m definitely excited for the game tomorrow if I’m in, and these games are a lot of fun.”
Though his status remains uncertain, Bennett said it will not be difficult for him to do his best to help the Flames.
“Obviously you’re going to hear all the reports and everything, but I don’t even think about it when it comes to playing hockey,” he said. “As soon as it’s game time, as soon as you start getting ready for the game, all that other stuff disappears, and you just worry about what you can do to help the team win.”
Bennett, in his seventh NHL season, has scored 129 points (63 goals, 66 assists) in 373 games, all for the Flames. He has scored 19 points (11 goals, eight assists) in 30 Stanley Cup Playoff games.
Bennett is in the final season of a two-year, $5.1 million contract ($2.55 million average annual value) he signed July 24, 2019.