CALGARY -- The Sam Bennett era is officially over in Calgary. 

Bennett, who was the highest Flames draft pick at fourth overall, is headed to the Florida Panthers. The Panthers also get Calgary's sixth round pick in 2022.

In return, the Flames get a second round draft pick in the 2022 NHL entry draft and prospect Emil Heineman, who was the Panthers second round pick last year.

It's not really surprising that Bennett was dealt. Earlier this year, his agent had requested the Flames trade him because he was looking for a better opportunity.

Flames general manager Brad Treliving says that situation probably could've been handled differently.

"I don't put that on Sam," Treliving said. 

"At the end of the day, Sam worked hard here and was never an issue, but I think he's going to embrace a fresh start and we wish him all the best."


Treliving ended up making two deals at the deadline. On Sunday night he sent goaltender David Rittich to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for a third round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft. 

Rittich is an unrestricted free agent after this season and Treliving says it wasn't likely that he was going to return to Calgary.

"I had a conversation with David's agent and explored the possibility of him coming back if there was a contract to be done. I think it's fair to say at year end he was going to probably look for a fresh start."


Treliving says trading Bennett and Rittich wasn't easy, but it's a decision he had to make and it's part of doing business.

He says it doesn't mean the Flames are giving up on the season.

"We felt we got real good return but we're not throwing in the towel on the year," Treliving said.

"These are two young guys that we thought of a lot who gave a lot to this organization so it sucks (to trade them). It sucks when you move players out.  I'd like to be more politically correct with my language but it sucks."

The Flames flew out to Toronto Monday afternoon. They play the Leafs Tuesday night.