Entering this year, there was a ton of buzz about the current rookie class. Most of that buzz centered around Connor McDavid (C, Edmonton) – who by all accounts was and is a once in a generation talent. McDavid’s arrival in the NHL was likened to the arrivals of Sidney Crosby (C, Pittsburgh), Mario Lemieux (C, Pittsburgh) and Wayne Gretzky (C, Edmonton) in years past.
Last night, a rookie 18-year old did something that neither Crosby nor Lemieux nor Gretzky had done at that age – score four goals in a single NHL game. That rookie’s name is not Connor McDavid, however, and it isn’t even Jack Eichel (C, Buffalo) who would have been the #1 overall pick in any draft not featuring McDavid. The rookie who did what only two other 18-year olds have done and what hasn’t been done in 35 years was Calgary’s Sam Bennett (C, Calgary).
Bennett, who entered the night with six goals on the season, netted the four goals in a 6-0 shellacking of the previously red-hot Florida Panthers. Bennett’s 10 goals on the season put him in 8th place among all rookies – Artemi Panarin (LW, Chicago) currently leads all rookies with 15 goals.
Bennett was taken in the 1st round (4th overall) by the Flames in the 2014 draft.
The impressive feat by the young Calgary centerman is something that has only been accomplished twice before: by Jack Hamilton playing for Toronto in 1943-1944 and by Bobby Carpenter playing for Washington in 1981-1982.
Flames fans certainly hope that Bennett’s future turns out to be more like Carpenter than Hamilton. While Bobby Carpenter played 18 seasons in the NHL finishing with more than 300 career goals and 400 career assists, Jack Hamilton played in the NHL for just three years and finished his career with just 28 goals and 32 assists.