Pittsburgh Penguins: Is There a Market For Beau Bennett?


Frank Novoa, a Staff Writer here at Pens Labyrinth covered the case of Beau Bennett very well for us a few weeks ago.  Bennett, a first-round pick in 2010 for the Pittsburgh Penguins, has been quite disappointing over the past five years.

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When Jim Rutherford addressed the media after the Pittsburgh Penguins were eliminated from post-season contention, he placed the blame for Bennett’s struggles upon himself and stated that the young forward should have been sent to Wilkes-Barre in order to help with his development.  But, how long will Bennett be developing?

Rutherford also stated that he plans to extend a qualifying offer to both of the Pittsburgh Penguins restricted free agents this summer, Bennett and Ian Cole.  My assumption is that he feels Beau Bennett can continue to grow, and barring injury, can turn into a productive NHL forward.  And, I don’t necessarily disagree with him.

However, I’m not sure that the Pittsburgh Penguins should continue to spend the time and effort on Bennett considering his track record thus far with the organization. Maybe a change of scenery would be beneficial for him.

I wrote a piece recently that discussed the lack of draft picks the Pens will have in this summer’s NHL Entry Draft.  A few questions were raised after I mentioned that Bennett could potentially leave this summer since he’s a restricted free agent. But, RFA status means that several things would have to happen for him to walk.  Those questions got me thinking…

What kind of market is there for this young, talented, but injury prone forward?

There’s absolutely no doubt about the pedigree that Bennett possesses.  He’s a strong skater, very creative, and has silky-smooth hands.  He reminds me a lot of a David Perron type of player.  But, his injuries and lack of production have his value at an all-time low.  Still, though, could another team be interested in giving him a shot?  Should the Pittsburgh Penguins allow them the opportunity?

Restricted free agency can get confusing.  The best rundown that I’ve found is available at proicehockey.about.com.

So, the questions are whether the Pittsburgh Penguins are interested in packaging Bennett’s rights in a trade this summer, or if another team is interested enough to submit an offer sheet in order to pry him away from Pittsburgh.  There’s always the chance that Rutherford doesn’t give him a qualifying offer and he becomes an unrestricted free agent as well, but that seems unlikely given his comments mentioned above.

One very important piece of this is the compensation that the team gives to the Pittsburgh Penguins after submitting an offer sheet, if Bennett would accept it and leave.  The updated compensation is below, via sportsnet.

Beau Bennett is coming off a deal that paid him $900,000 per year.  Per RFA guidelines, it’s mandatory that he receives at least 105% of his previous salary on his next deal.  But, it’s likely that he would fall under the $1.2 million mark and nothing will be owed to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

That makes things a bit more interesting in terms of possible offer sheets from outside organizations.  Though it’s extremely rare, it could happen considering his potential and the lack of compensation from the offering team.

I imagine one of two scenario’s will play out.

Bennett will be moved as part of a package to bring in a top-six winger, or, he’ll resign and potentially open the season in the AHL unless he has an outstanding camp.  A team that is on the fence about a potential trade proposal would surely be further enticed with Beau thrown into the mix, though.  I definitely wouldn’t shy away from moving him if I were Jim Rutherford.

Five years is a long time to wait for a player of his caliber. My personal opinion is that it’s time to move on, and there are clearly ways to do that.  The Pittsburgh Penguins have needs to address immediately, and given Beau’s performance, he isn’t addressing them as we had hoped he would.

Next: How troublesome is the Pens' Lack of Draft Picks in 2015?

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