The 24-year-old forward has thrived since being traded to the Florida Panthers by the Calgary Flames on April 12, scoring seven points (four goals, three assists) in six games after he scored 12 points (four goals, eight assists) in 38 games for the Flames this season.
Bennett’s ice time has increased to 17:42 per game for Florida, up from 13:28 per game with Calgary.
“I’ve always known that I want to take on a bigger role and play a bigger role,” Bennett said. “Now that I’m getting that opportunity, I feel like I’ve been taking advantage of it a little bit. Just proves that I could have been doing this all along. I’m happy. I’m not going to get comfortable. I’m not going to get complacent. I know it’s only been a couple games. I have a lot more to prove and a lot more to give. I’m going to keep going out there and playing my game every chance I get.”
Bennett also discussed his time in Calgary, including his request to be traded and his relationship with Flames coach Darryl Sutter, who replaced Geoff Ward on March 4.
“One of the first things [Sutter] said to me (after he was traded) was I wish I had you longer,” Bennett said. “Me and him had a really good relationship. I really liked playing for him. I believe he liked me as a player. Didn’t really have him for too long but we had a good relationship.
“It was no secret that my time in Calgary had not gone the way that I expected or everyone else probably expected. It was a little frustrating this year with my opportunity and my role and where it looked like my career was going in Calgary. Once Darryl came in, I felt like a new player again. It was refreshing. I was happy there. I was happy playing. That’s how it went. You don’t really have any control over if you get traded or not. It’s completely up to the team. I’m grateful now that I got picked up by Florida.”
Bennett also talked about how he learned about the trade, getting to know new teammates and new teams in the Discover Central Division and being able to get to the beach every chance he gets.
“The Chirp with Daren Millard” features interviews with players, executives, alumni and other personalities around the game. You can share your thoughts on Twitter using the hashtag #ChirpMallard.