Keep in mind that this is an unrealistic thought. A sudden moment of realization which crossed my mind. However, it came to me and immediately made me begin to think.
The thought: Put Sam Bennett on the right wing with Gaudreau and Monahan on the first line, bump Jankowski up to the third line at the Centre position and free up the fourth line centre position for Matt Stajan instead of moving him to the wing. Yes, Bennett is a centreman. Yes, Bennett is left-handed. The fact of the matter is, however, that this day and age of hockey features a diminishing distinction between the LW, RW, and C positions. As said by Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin earlier this month, the forward positions are becoming less concrete and blending towards an F1, F2, and F3 mentality. With speed and pace becoming more and more dominant in today’s game, players caught behind the play don’t have time to get to their respective positions. Instead, it is simply the first man in the zone’s job to cover the primary threats and fill the most important roles.
Bennett has shown many sparks of promise over his career. He has skill and potential, but at such a young age he simply lacks confidence. Perhaps the swap would only be temporary, but in the long run it could provide the long-term spark needed to permanently elevate the youngster’s game.
The speculative and temporary forward lineup could look something like this:
The major downside to this idea in my mind is that this situation would sacrifice the development of Michael Ferland. The first line clicks when Ferland is present, and Ferland gains loads of experience, ice time and development from it. In my mind, I would keep the Flames’ lineup the way the it is projected to be. Food for thought, however.