SUNRISE — Sam Bennett was set to play the Calgary Flames for the first time since they traded him to the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night but instead will be serving the first of a three-game suspension handed down by the NHL.
Bennett was hit with the suspension on Sunday night for a high hit to Montreal’s Cedric Paquette.
The three games Bennett will miss will be Tuesday’s reunion with the Flames and Florida’s two upcoming road games at Dallas and Carolina.
Bennett’s infraction came just over three minutes into Saturday’s game — not long after he scored the game’s first goal 32 seconds in.
The high hit was not called a penalty on the ice, but Paquette took exception to it and a brief skirmish broke out.
The NHL Department of Player Safety considered Bennett “a repeat offender under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.”
Bennett will forego $161,890.23 with the money going to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
The Panthers acquired Bennett from the Flames at last season’s trade deadline for a pair of second round draft picks. In 38 games with Calgary last season, he had four goals and 12 points; Bennett had six goals and 15 points in 10 games with the Panthers.
Florida signed Bennett to a three-year contract extension in the offseason and he has 11 goals and 17 points in 26 games thus far.
Bennett scored twice in the 5-2 win against the Canadiens after missing the win against Tampa Bay with an illness.
”It feels good,” said Bennett, the fourth-overall pick of the Flames in the 2014 draft. “It’s never fun to sit out and watch the team but it felt great being back in the lineup and to contribute early and help the team get a win.”