Pittsburgh Penguins Beau Bennett: Is It Time for a Change of Scenery?


“We made a mistake on Beau Bennett as far as development-wise. I’ll take the responsibility for that.”

Those are just some of the self-accountable words Pittsburgh Penguins GM Jim Rutherford had to offer in an end-of-the-season press conference held on Tuesday.

Although the first-year General Manager did make some cap related mistakes and even a minor trade mistake that he fesses up to, this is one he should not fault himself or anyone else in the organization.

Lets take this back to the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. Beau Bennett is selected 20th overall by the Pittsburgh Penguins. At that point, it was well known he was headed straight to Wilkes-Barre to get the necessary development most draft picks get before making the jump to the NHL.

Fast forward five years later, 2015. That same player, that same 20th overall pick, is still in the development phase of his career, according to the new Penguins general manager.

First, we’ll dive into Beau’s injury problems.

During his 2010-2011 freshman year at the University of Denver, he suffered a knee injury that would sideline him for six weeks. The next season, his sophomore year, he suffered a severe wrist injury that had him sit for all but ten games. It was then that he would have surgery on his wrist. That same year, after the surgery, the Pittsburgh Penguins would sign Bennett to a three-year entry level contract.

In 2013-2014, Bennett’s second year as a professional, he sustained two different injuries. The first came early in the season where it was determined he had an “upper body injury.” He would then play in thirteen games before suffering yet another injury. This time, it was the wrist again, requiring surgery. In this past season, 2014-2015, he played a grand total of 49 regular season games. Four of those 33 games missed were healthy scratches, coming in later in the season. That’s another 29 games lost due to injury just this past season. To add onto that, Bennett had an upper-body injury after the second game of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs. He was never able to return to the lineup in the final three games of the series.

Sometimes, it is just bad luck. But, sometimes a player is just flat out fragile.

"“We made a mistake on Beau Bennett as far as development-wise. I’ll take the responsibility for that.”"

But what about when he is able to play?

Bennett had a fairly productive first season with the Penguins. He tallied three goals and eleven assists in the 48-game shortened season, playing 26 of them. In the playoffs that season, he recorded one goal in six games played.

Alright, not bad. First season in the NHL and he was injured a bit. He’ll get healthy and produce more regularly next season.

In just 21 regular season games, Bennett had three goals and four assists. This time the season wasn’t shortened. He would play 12 games in the playoffs, tallying one goal and four assists.

Still not healthy. Still not producing. But, it’s only been two seasons. This low in his career has to end now, right?

Bennett didn’t make his first appearance in the 2014-2015 campaign until November after yet another wrist injury. When finally able to play again, it only took him seven games to injure his knee and be out again. Then, it was the mumps. He would play a total of 49 regular season games, recording four goals and eight assists. Bennett only played two of the five games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs due to an upper-body injury. He didn’t record a single point.

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There comes a point in a player’s career where a change is necessary. With Beau Bennett, that point is right now.

It’s time for the Penguins to let other guys get their chance. The 2010 first-round draft pick was a dud. It happens.

Let another team take him in and give him a shot. It might work for him, it might not. But, that is something this Pittsburgh Penguins team can no longer afford to fiddle around with.

“So we just have to keep working and developing him, but I believe he’s going to be a good NHL player.”

Yes, Jim, he might be. But let another NHL team find that out for themselves. There is no reason to have a question mark player on your roster year after year when there are guys in Wilkes-Barre who are more than ready to make their own statements in the NHL.

It’s been quite the ride, Beau.

But it’s time to go.

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