Could the Pittsburgh Penguins Trade Beau Bennett?


It seems like Beau Bennett has spent more time on the injured reserve list than he has on the active roster. As the trade deadline nears, could the Pittsburgh Penguins potentially move him? And would anybody else actually want him?

Beau Bennett is in the midst of his fourth season with the Pittsburgh Penguins. He signed a one-year contract at the beginning of the 2015-2016 season, following the expiry of his entry-level deal.

When this season ends, Bennett will be a restricted free agent (RFA) – giving Pittsburgh the rights to negotiate a new contract with him before anyone else could.

However, Bennett, the 20th overall pick in the 2010 entry draft, has been anything but a consistent asset for Pittsburgh.  Whenever he hits his stride and has a good streak of games, he inevitably gets injured.  When he eventually returns to the lineup, he’s back to square one and has to get back in the groove again before his contributions are felt.

Repeat this cycle ad nauseam and toss in several stints in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, and you’ve got a pretty good summary of Bennett’s time in Pittsburgh.

With the trade deadline looming and most people having forgotten that Bennett exists altogether, might the Penguins trade him?

The main obstacle to executing this trade is finding a buyer. What team would want to give up something for a fragile forward who has played scarcely more than 100 NHL games in four seasons?

Lower-caliber teams with a flexible amount of cap space left would be the ideal targets. A team that acquires him would more than likely seek to re-sign him at the end of the season, since there’s so few games left in the current season and there’s little value in getting an injured RFA otherwise.

Related Story: Beau Bennett's Injuries Hurt Himself, Team

The Carolina Hurricanes would be one possible location for Bennett. Quite a few of their bottom-six forwards are unrestricted free agents (UFAs) at the end of the season. Nathan Gerbe, Riley Nash, Chris Terry, and Brad Malone all could easily walk. predicts that the Canes will also have $8,195,289 of cap space left at the end of the season, a number only increased by the potential mass exodus of players (ahem, Eric Staal). Bennett can’t command a huge amount of money, but a team with that much wiggle room might be more inclined to offer him a longer-term contract.

The Canes also have a lot of draft picks and prospects that could be sent back in a trade. Unless Bennett is used as a piece in a larger trade or a prospect is lumped in with him, this is most likely the return the Penguins would get.

That’s not a bad thing, though. It’s no secret that former general manager Ray Shero liked to trade away draft picks as parts of deals that would ensure current success – which rarely panned out. They need draft picks more than prospects at this point.

However, Carolina prospect Sebastian Aho would be an interesting acquisition if the Pens could manage it. Small, fast, and skilled, the Finnish winger is currently playing in Liiga, on the team Oulun Kärpät.  He could easily make the transition to the AHL and given a little bit of development time there would probably prove a significant asset.

The New Jersey Devils could be another potential destination for Bennett. They’re estimated to have $8,371,091 in cap space at the end of the season. Despite a few pending RFAs already in the organization, none of them are high-budget players and that would allow Bennett to join their ranks.

There are also a few older forwards in the organization that will be UFAs, like Jordin Tootoo, Stephen Gionta, and former Penguin Lee Stempniak. None of them can boast major contracts either, and adding Bennett would be good insurance.

Oct 8, 2015; Dallas, TX, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Beau Bennett (19) during the game against the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center. The Stars shut out the Penguins 3-0. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 8, 2015; Dallas, TX, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Beau Bennett (19) during the game against the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center. The Stars shut out the Penguins 3-0. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /

Plus, in a market that’s usually pretty far out of the public’s eye, Bennett could nurse his inevitable injuries in relative privacy and recover on his own time frame. The general manager who drafted him, Shero, is now in the Devils’ front office, and he seems to enjoy picking up former Penguins for his new team (Stempniak, Bobby Farnham…).

One more option for Bennett might be the Columbus Blue Jackets. Though John Tortorella might not be the best coach out there for Bennett (or anyone), the Jackets have relatively few players to re-sign at the end of the season.

Though both Boone Jenner and Seth Jones undeniably deserve raises, the Jackets should have enough to ensnare Bennett too. With about $3,318,593 in cap space left at the end of the season, and likely letting Rene Bourque and Justin Falk go, it could be accomplished with a little shrewd bargaining.

The Jackets’ prospect system isn’t particularly rich, either. Though there’s names like Sonny Milano and Oliver Bjorkstrand in their AHL ranks, someone with more NHL experience (if only a few games per season) might be an advantage.

The Arizona Coyotes are one Western Conference team that might come calling as well. However, Bennett’s playing style is far more suited than the East than the West, and the ‘Yotes have a lot of questions with their current roster to deal with when their season ends – especially as a lot of major forwards will be UFAs and their goalie situation is a non-tenured disaster.

So, back to the original question: will the Penguins move Bennett, and will anyone want him?

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There’s clearly teams that could benefit from his presence and playing ability when healthy, and it would only be a minor gamble for a team to bank on that in a multi-season contract.

If the Penguins want to move him, they just need to find one of those teams. It’s always possible that Penguins GM Jim Rutherford might work his magic again and get a decent return for Bennett, enriching the Penguins’ development system without losing much of their present potential.