Publish date:

Panthers, Bennett Agree to Four-Year Extension

The Florida Panthers have locked in Sam Bennett to a four-year, $17.6 million extension mere days before free agency.
Sam Bennett. Photo by Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports.

Sam Bennett. Photo by Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports.

With free agency only days away, teams have begun last-minute efforts to keep their prized assets off the open market. 

The Florida Panthers succeeded in this area by retaining one of their emerging young forwards, agreeing to terms with Sam Bennett on a four-year contract extension worth an average annual value of $4.4 million. 

The details of the agreement, such as a no-movement clause or salary structure, have yet to be determined. 

Bennett found new life in Florida after arriving from the Calgary Flames at the 2021 trade deadline. The 25-year-old broke out spectacularly in his new surroundings, racking up 15 points in 10 games as a member of the Panthers that dwarfed the 12 points in 38 games he had managed as a Flame earlier that season. 

Bennett just stop there, either. Continuing his torrid scoring pace into the playoffs, Bennett emerged as one of the Panthers' top performers with five points in the team's five-game first-round series loss to the eventual Cup Champion, Tampa Bay Lightning. 

Impressive debut with the Panthers aside, however, evaluating Bennet is a difficult endeavor. 

Bennett had been on his way out of Calgary for quite some time before eventually departing, never quite managing to find a role on any one line for years and even sitting as a healthy scratch for multiple games last season. Unsurprisingly, Bennett's play took a steady path downwards amid his uncertain and sporadic usage, ultimately opening the door for the Panthers to nab the former top-five pick for only a second-rounder and a prospect. 

In committing both significant money and term to Bennett, general manager, Bill Zito is taking a noted risk. Keep in mind, Bennett played only 123 minutes in a Panthers uniform. And while those were a spectacular 123 minutes, they are also preceded by years of uneven results that ultimately earned him the ire of his previous employer. 

What the Panthers are banking on with this extension is that Bennett's true self is the player they saw in Florida, not the one who watched the odd game from the press box in Calgary. 

They're certainly paying him like the former. The hope is he doesn't perform like the latter. 

TOP HEADLINES

Kraken_20210922_0006

Exclusive: Seattle's New Beacon For Hockey

The Kraken Community Iceplex was designed to be more than just a practice facility for the team and we've got an inside look at the brand-new building.

Vladimir Tarasenko
Play

What's Going to Happen to Jack Eichel and Vladimir Tarsenko Next?

For different reasons, Jack Eichel and Vladimir Tarasenko were front and center amid the trade rumor mill during the off-season. Neither were traded, and it could still be months until they are. By then, teams might look at both stars in different ways.

Ottawa Senators
Play

Fantasy Hockey Preview: Ottawa Senators

Despit another tough season in the midst of a rebuild, a handful of Ottawa's young talented players showed big promise last year. Don't sleep on the Senators in your fantasy league.