RE 16-17 MATT BENNING: BLACK STAR

Matt Benning could have chosen Boston, could have been a Canuck, but the young man decided to play for the Edmonton Oilers. It surely wasn’t an easy decision, this city doesn’t care where you’re from when things go bad. It’s funny. With all the hard work and planning, the mapping out and the bets made over millions and millions, sometimes winning comes down to getting damned lucky. The day Matt Benning chose the difficult path of playing in his hometown is such a moment. (Black Star)

MATT BENNING 2016-17

  • 5×5 points per 60: 0.71 (5th among regular defensemen)
  • 5×4 points per 60: 7.16 (in just 25 minutes, 1-2-3)
  • Corsi for 5×5 %: 52.1
  • Corsi Rel 5×5 %: 2.8
  • DFF Elite 5×5 %: 50.2
  • DFF Elite Rel 5×5 %: +2.8 (31 percent of TOI v. elites)
  • Shots on goal/percentage: 69 shots/4.3%
  • Boxcars: 62, 3-12-15
  • (All numbers via Stats.HockeyAnalysis.com and hockey-reference)
  • Special thanks to GMoney and Woodguy for sharing the DFF’s

REASONABLE EXPECTATIONS

  • None
  1. No RE? No.
  2. You didn’t have him playing even one game? No.
  3. You suck. Well, he was a new pro and there were no guarantees. Credit to the young man, he forced his way onto the roster and flourished.
  4. Who was in front of him on your RE list? I had the defense Andrej Sekera (76), Adam Larsson (73), Darnell Nurse (69), Mark Fayne (69), Brandon Davidson (62), Oscar Klefbom (55), Jordan Oesterle (44) Griffin Reinhart (39), David Musil (10), Dillon Simpson (4), Joey Laleggia (4).
  5. Why not Benning? We didn’t know him, Todd McLellan said basically the same thing during his exit interview. McLellan was surprised by how good he was, and that goes for all of us (I think).
  6. He was a Godsend. If they hadn’t found Benning, they would have had to invent him.
  7. How good was he? Matt Benning was amazing. I don’t think we could possibly have anticipated this kind of season.
  8. What do the possession numbers show? Fantastic results. He is over 50 percent in Corsi for 5×5, Corsi Rel, rocks the Woodmonies like hell won’t  have it and he did it while playing the elites over 30 percent of the time. Incredible!
  9. Can he do it again? Ah, that is the question. One of the really concerning moments in Benning’s season was injury. He plays a rugged style and is not a big man.
  10. Injuries derail career? NHL history has mountains of evidence. Benning is listed at 6.01, 195 and that’s probably close to average. It’s something to monitor.
  11. What does he do well? He is a great skater and can make plays on the fly. Benning is rarely standing still, always in motion and seems to be able to move quickly in any direction. Can pass the puck well, hits like a truck, he’s a game rooster.
  12. Like him? Love him. Honestly. He’s a great addition to this young cluster.
  13. Does he have more to give? That power-play number is interesting, I bet Todd McLellan adds that to his chores next year.
  14. Could we see an offensive spike? Oh yes, I think more 5×4 time will result in a jump in boxcars for Benning.
  15. Did he perform well in the playoffs? I think he played well for sure. Some bumps in the road, but remember he is a rookie.
  16. Should Chiarelli get some credit? Everyone involved in getting Matt Benning to sign here should be acknowledged. I think we should understand luck played a factor and that relationships going way back probably contributed. This could be a big damn piece of the puzzle, this guy can play. But credit Matt Benning, that’s kind of my feeling about it.
  17. Where do we go from here? Benning may be asked to play second pair until Andrej Sekera returns. That’s probably the wisest move at this point, depending on what players are added.
  18. Is he ready? Ideally, you’d like to keep him with Nurse on what might become a tremendous duo. They had great chem last season.
  19. Who did he play well with? He played 306 minutes with Andrej Sekera (55 percent Corsi for percentage), 246 minutes with Darnell Nurse (50.1) and 131 minutes with Oscar Klefbom (54.1).
  20. That’s good. A wonderful season, he really was manna from heaven.
  21. Maybe he should play with Sekera on the second pairing? Maybe that’s the plan when Sekera returns from injury.
  22. Does he have more trade value than Darnell Nurse? Not sure. I rate Benning higher but both are not yet proven, and Nurse was a high draft pick. Nurse is a year younger as well and would guess he has the higher trade value.
  23. Why this song? It’s a delightful song, the melody is brilliant and the delivery is straight forward. Radiohead could have made trillions if they could just find a way to rhyme June with spoon but they insisted on working out some issues. Made them better, in my opinion. The song itself is fabulous and the traditional feel perhaps unexpected, which makes it a perfect match for Benning.

 

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46 Responses to "RE 16-17 MATT BENNING: BLACK STAR"

  1. Westchester Oil says:

    Sorry to go off-topic, but any word on a potential Svoboda signing? BTW, while his save percentage looks amazing, I checked his league late in the season and he only had the third best save percentage.

  2. Lowetide says:

    Westchester Oil:
    Sorry to go off-topic, but any word on a potential Svoboda signing? BTW, while his save percentage looks amazing, I checked his league late in the season and he only had the third best save percentage.

    He did not sign with Edmonton.

  3. godot10 says:

    //Radiohead could have made trillions…//

    except they would rather follow their art rather than the money. So they let ColdPlay take that road as (early)Radiohead-lite, and they chose the other path, and it made all the difference.

  4. SayItAin'tSo, Gretz, SayItAin'tSo! says:

    godot10,

    Great post!

  5. Professor Q says:

    Even if it’s statistically unlikely to get *many* outstanding NCAA signed players, if Chia signs a plethora of them then there should hopefully be more helpful ones pop out. Very happy thus far.

    And ones that aren’t the more heavily scouted of NCAA players (less pressure, perform better)!

  6. Kinger_Oil.redux says:

    – Great post LT! This was actually a nice uplifting song for once! Wasn’t familiar with it.

    – From a planning perspective next year, I hope that Chia assumes that Benning will have some sophmore struggles, and that Sek doesn’t come back strong. I hope they get 2 bonafide D in the off-season on shorter term contracts.

    – With Sek out, I hope they aren’t relying on graduating Nurse-Benning to 2nd pairing

  7. leadfarmer says:

    godot10:
    //Radiohead could have made trillions…//

    except they would rather follow their art rather than the money.So they let ColdPlay take that road as (early)Radiohead-lite, and they chose the other path, and it made all the difference.

    I don’t get why fans of one always crap on the other. It’s like you have to be on team Coldplay, Team Radiohead or Team Muse and the other ones suck. Each one is really talented but also do some annoying things

  8. godot10 says:

    leadfarmer: I don’t get why fans of one always crap on the other.It’s like you have to be on team Coldplay, Team Radiohead or Team Muse and the other ones suck.Each one is really talented but also do some annoying things

    I don’t see as how I was crapping on Coldplay. Early Radiohead is exceptional music. Radiohead just didn’t want to repeat themselves, nor were they particularly interested in being the biggest band in the world. Coldplay wanted those things. They stepped into the void Radiohead left behind.

    Disclaimer: I own Coldplay albums.

  9. Yeti says:

    godot10:
    //Radiohead could have made trillions…//

    except they would rather follow their art rather than the money.So they let ColdPlay take that road as (early)Radiohead-lite, and they chose the other path, and it made all the difference.

    Well, settling for making mere millions must have been a hard burden for them 😉
    https://www.theguardian.com/music/2016/apr/29/radiohead-corporate-structure-firms

  10. Diablo says:

    As much as I give credit to Larsson and a healthy Klefbom stabilizing the D this year, Benning deserves a special mention for stepping in and providing many quality minutes.

    As you say LT, there were some bumps on the road, most of them from being slow to read a play, but that’ll smooth out with experience.

    An incredible find for which the Chiarelli administration deserved full credit. The coaching staff also deserves a ton of kudos here as well – it took some courage to play him ahead of a high paid vet like Fayne.

  11. leadfarmer says:

    Yeti: Well, settling for making mere millions must have been a hard burden for them 😉
    https://www.theguardian.com/music/2016/apr/29/radiohead-corporate-structure-firms

    Not too mention on trying to cash in after Adele by making a Bond song, which by the way is the worst bond song ever written and the second worst Bond song ever written got selected over Radioheads. All three of Radiohead, Muse, and Coldplay are loveable sellouts and they have written some of the best music post grunge. They deserve the money they make but there is no denying that each one of the three is taking their cheques and cashing them in.

    One way I like to classify people’s enjoyment is by how much weed they smoke
    Straightlaced – you probably like Coldplay a little more
    Smoke occasionally – you probably like Muse a little more
    Smoke a little more than occasionally- you probably like Radiohead a little more
    Smoke shit tons of weed – you are listening to Kid A and Amnesiac at the same time all the time

  12. stephen sheps says:

    Lowetide

    Hello from Taiwan!!!

    I’m just loving this RE: series. Your your interpretation of the moods, emotions and ideas that these songs represent has been an absolute treat to read and you’re more than doing justice to the work of my favourite band. Still a bit surprised that songs from In Rainbows (and to a lesser extent The King of Limbs and the very strong non-album singles from around that period like The Daily Mail) have yet to make an appearance, but good things come to those who wait, I suppose. That’s the thing about a catalogue like theirs – so much to choose from and always a new twist to uncover. Hopefully late period Radiohead does find its way on to the list at some point… (True Love Waits doesn’t count – it’s been in their catalogue since the 90s and appeared with a very different arrangement on the live “I Might Be Wrong” EP back in 2001. Still, it’s a stunning track, regardless of which version you choose to hear).

    For those of you who are fans (and even those who aren’t), this new interview with the band sheds some light on the OK computer sessions and where they’re at right now. Really interesting stuff. http://www.rollingstone.com/music/features/exclusive-thom-yorke-and-radiohead-on-ok-computer-w484570

    Benning was a revelation this year. The fact that he didn’t have an RE in the fall really speaks to just how much of a shock it was that he arrived almost fully formed, especially given the previous NCAA FA RHD the Oilers signed. Benning arrived without the hype and fanfare, stepped in and played very good hockey. The numbers backed up the eyes and told a really lovely story, almost from day one. Hopefully he continues to build on an outstanding rookie season.

    In other news, my conference presentation went very well yesterday morning. The sport sociologists (or at least the 25 or so that showed up to my panel) seemed really interested in what’s been happening in our little corner of the internet for the past decade or so. They had lots of questions and were very interested in finding ways to apply some of the concepts that were birthed around here and within the greater fancy-stats community, particularly in terms of metrics like DFF and xGF in the context of European Football. Great conversations and exchanges of ideas – and I was able to tell the story of how Corsi got its name and included a photo of the man and his moustache in my powerpoint. I was rather pleased with myself for doing so. I still can’t believe I got to come here to talk about hockey in an academic setting!

  13. stephen sheps says:

    Yeti: Well, settling for making mere millions must have been a hard burden for them

    I can’t tell if this is an ironic reference to the OK Computer B-side ‘how I made my millions’ or not…
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n10JC0BOWF8

  14. --hudson-- says:

    godot10: I don’t see as how I was crapping on Coldplay.Early Radiohead is exceptional music.Radiohead just didn’t want to repeat themselves, nor were they particularly interested in being the biggest band in the world.Coldplay wanted those things.They stepped into the void Radiohead left behind.

    Disclaimer: I own Coldplay albums.

    I seem to recall in 2003 after they won one of the awards for “A Rush of Blood to the Head” they announced they were going to take a long break. After watching those awards (could have been the Grammys) I was disappointed and basically stopped paying attention to them. It was really surprising when their next album came out a couple years later, but makes me think the studio put a lot of pressure on them to keep making albums.

    Funny I never really listened to their new albums since, I still play the first 2 occasionally. (Along with a bunch of radiohead)

  15. Kinger_Oil.redux says:

    – Re: Benning. I don’t mean to pick at the scab, but Larson @ $4.2MM + Benning @ 900K, + Cags @ 900K = Hall @ $6MM. That $1.8MM of extra salary paid for those 2 players.

    – Larsson + Benning + Cags for Hall is a huge trade win

    – That’s what happened. Rather than taking some roster player from NJ to “even it out”, he preferred spending the $1.8MM on players he identified

    *sorry for bringing it up…

  16. godot10 says:

    NEW Arcade Fire…EverythingNow https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zC30BYR3CUk

    Now that we have McDavid, we want #EverythingNow

  17. Centre of attention says:

    godot10,

    sweet tune

  18. Scungilli Slushy says:

    Sorry not sorry to go on about size, but Benning is short and light for an NHL D. He is short for a forward.

    Doesn’t mean he can’t be fantastic, but that disadvantage can mean injuries if he doesn’t learn to play with brains rather than brawn. Game rooster depends on the game. He won’t win the physical battle long term. He doesn’t need to.

    I like how Sullivan talks about the game. Defend when it’s required, meaning don’t play so that you have to. Perfect for the Oilers.

  19. Diablo says:

    Kinger_Oil.redux:
    – Re: Benning.I don’t mean to pick at the scab, but Larson @ $4.2MM + Benning @ 900K, + Cags @ 900K = Hall @ $6MM.That $1.8MM of extra salary paid for those 2 players.

    – Larsson + Benning + Cags for Hall is a huge trade win

    – That’s what happened.Rather than taking some roster player from NJ to “even it out”, he preferred spending the $1.8MM on players he identified

    *sorry for bringing it up…

    Who is this Hall you speak of? I vaguely recall such a player on the Oilers, but honestly I’ve had most of my memories of the decade of darkness erased by a very good hypnotist.

  20. dustrock says:

    Black Star is a top 10 Radiohead track for me.

    Wish Thom would open it up more like he used to.

  21. JDI says:

    Diablo: Who is this Hall you speak of?

    He was the head of the Corey Potter Skate Club.

  22. OF17 says:

    Benning reminds me a lot of Davidson a year ago. Fantastic rookie year almost out of nowhere, great possession numbers, and a whole lot of question marks as to what he’ll become. The two are very similar stylistically as well.

    I think that should be a cautionary tale for us in projecting Benning into next season. Davidson didn’t fall off a cliff this year, but he also wasn’t his rookie self. At least part of that was injury, but say we have Benning pencilled in for 2RD duty until Sekera gets back but Matt isn’t his rookie self. We’re pretty much screwed at that point.

  23. JDI says:

    Scungilli Slushy: He is short for a forward.


    Matthew Benning
    Defense — shoots R
    Born May 25 1994 — Edmonton, ALTA
    [23 yrs. ago]
    Height 6.01 — Weight 195 [185 cm/88 kg]

    http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=139599

    Short for a forward? Unless you’ve shooked and/or shaken his hand while standing in similar street shoes, and can call out those specs stated above, Ima gonna go with bullshit.

    And then there’s this schmuck:

    Drew Doughty
    Defense — shoots R
    Born Dec 8 1989 — London, ONT
    [27 yrs. ago]
    Height 6.01 — Weight 195 [185 cm/88 kg]

    http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=89731

    Overture, curtains lights

    This is it, we’ll hit the heights

    And oh what heights we’ll hit…

  24. JDI says:

    Duncan Keith
    Defense — shoots L
    Born Jul 16 1983 — Winnipeg, MAN
    [33 yrs. ago]
    Height 6.01 — Weight 192 [185 cm/87 kg]

    http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=63187

    On with the show, this is it…

  25. JDI says:

    Roman Josi
    Defense — shoots L
    Born Jun 1 1990 — Bern, Switzerland
    [27 yrs. ago]
    Height 6.01 — Weight 201 [185 cm/91 kg]

    http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=100921

    No more rehearsin’

    Or Nursin’ the part…

  26. JDI says:


    Brandon Montour
    Defense — shoots R
    Born Apr 11 1994 — Brantford, ONT
    [23 yrs. ago]
    Height 6.00 — Weight 192 [183 cm/87 kg]

    http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=170326

    We know every part by heart!

  27. JDI says:


    Kevin Bieksa
    Defense — shoots R
    Born Jun 16 1981 — Grimsby, ONT
    [35 yrs. ago]
    Height 6.01 — Weight 200 [185 cm/91 kg]

    http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=63159

    Nyaaaah, what’s up Doc?

  28. JDI says:

    Cam Fowler
    Defense — shoots L
    Born Dec 5 1991 — Windsor, ONT
    [25 yrs. ago]
    Height 6.01 — Weight 207 [185 cm/94 kg]

    http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=120956

    What a nincompoop…

  29. JDI says:

    I like Matt Benning.

  30. Chachi says:

    godot10:
    NEW Arcade Fire…EverythingNow https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zC30BYR3CUk

    Now that we have McDavid, we want #EverythingNow

    Great song. Great band.

  31. Pescador says:

    JDI:
    I like Matt Benning.

    My name is Pescador, I’m an Oiler fan & I approve this message

  32. T0ML says:

    Did we just break JDI?

  33. SwedishPoster says:

    Can someone explain to me why we only keep Svobodas rights for two years and not four which is the standard time for euros now. I know he’s an overager but I’ve never seen anything suggesting overagers have to be signed sooner.

  34. stevezie says:

    A propos of nothing, The Replacements documentary Color Me Obsessed is a good watch for any superfans out there.

  35. OF17 says:

    JDI,

    Those Benning hits are great. It’s fun to watch his proficiency of the fundamentals. He’s able to lay those huge hits because he arrives at just the right time and with just the right momentum to get a big shoulder shot in.

    He’s average sized, so he can’t subscribe to the Chara “dominate physically at will” school, but what he does do is use smarts to best make use of his frame. His hits are like the McDavid hit from the San Jose series: a mixture of brains and brawn that few players can create.

    Chiarelli has actually done a good job of diversifying the types of gritensity found in the lineup. Lucic is pure strength and nastiness in tight quarters. Kassian and to a lesser extent Pouliot, Slepyshev, and Pitlick can play you hard on the forecheck. Draisaitl and Maroon play strong puck protection games (with extracurriculars thrown in). Larsson and Nurse do most of their damage with their sticks. Benning has impeccable timing. There are a lot of ways for this group to impose its will physically on the opposition, which has made a palpable difference.

  36. stush18 says:

    SwedishPoster:
    Can someone explain to me why we only keep Svobodas rights for two years and not four which is the standard time for euros now. I know he’s an overager but I’ve never seen anything suggesting overagers have to be signed sooner.

    I don’t know but I’m pissed off about it. I know his league has high SV%, but that number pops. He also is signed to the Czech elite league next year, so one more year would have been perfect to see where he actually stands.

  37. theres oil in virginia says:

    Fabulous work JDI.

  38. russ99 says:

    Benning exceeded all expectations, and handled heavy competition in the playoffs with only a few blips.

    He’s my poster boy for being solid and responsible at the back first, then contributing offense at a good clip second.

    I really don’t see a one-dimensional player like Cody Franson (or a high-event offense only guy like Brian Campbell) being a better choice than Benning at this point, and I even prefer him to the Corsi-friendly flavors du jour like Demers.

    A good placeholder for a year (partially without Sekera) would be to move Russell to his natural left side (if he’s back) where he could be more effective and pair him with Benning. In a lot of ways this is similar to the Klefbom-Larsson defense-offense combo on the first pair.

    Then we’d need to find a tough, responsible pairing mate for Nurse, someone similar to but better than Gryba.

  39. Scungilli Slushy says:

    JDI:
    Matthew Benning
    Defense — shoots R
    Born May 25 1994 — Edmonton, ALTA
    [23 yrs. ago]
    Height 6.01 — Weight 195 [185 cm/88 kg]

    http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=139599

    Short for a forward? Unless you’ve shooked and/or shaken his hand while standing in similar street shoes, and can call out those specs stated above, Ima gonna go with bullshit.

    And then there’s this schmuck:

    Drew Doughty
    Defense — shoots R
    Born Dec 8 1989 — London, ONT
    [27 yrs. ago]
    Height 6.01 — Weight 195 [185 cm/88 kg]


    http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=89731

    Overture, curtains lights


    This is it, we’ll hit the heights

    And oh what heights we’ll hit…

    My mistake, he has ‘grown’ since he joined the team, I didn’t check the current height. So, he is not short for a forward, average height. A few years ago Scott Reynolds I believe looked at the top 30 scorers, average height 6’1″, 205 lbs. It’s probably shifted a bit down, I don’t have time to do that work this morning and find out what it’s at now, but I posted that there were only 7 out of 50 top scorers under 5’11”. More variance in weight, but few under 180.

    I like Benning lots, but comparing him to Doughty, Keith and Josi doesn’t tell me anything. Or late bloomer Fowler, one way Montour, or average quality Bieksa.

    It’s a simple point regarding the draft, which is why I mention it. Choosing undersized players increases the odds of a miss unless they have ‘exceptional’ skill. There are not a lot of exceptionally skilled players in this draft. Like McDavid, Laine, Matthews, Eichel, Mackinnon, etc.

    The Oilers have historically wasted many picks this way, mainly because they refused to develop them to the NHL, because they wanted to be bigger. Still, they chose many smaller players, or big guys with heavy boots, that doesn’t work either.

    Chiarelli is much more in tune with what he likes, and obviously had knowledge of Benning and likely Caggiula, and Benning has worked out well so far. High hopes for an NHL player in Caggiula.

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