We haven’t heard much since January about Tyler Benson and his injury issues, and that’s a tell. If the young Vancouver Giants winger was feeling grand, I’m fairly sure his name would have popped up in an article published at the team website today (as an aside, good information in there, worth the read).
Benson had a very good season going for the Giants until injury sidelined him for the second season in a row. If he had been able to complete his season, I am absolutely certain Benson would have been part of that article today.
You may feel Benson’s performance fades compares to other players chosen around him, but that’s really not the case. Adam Mascherin and Alex DeBrincat had tremendous seasons, but the Oilers drafted a player they were comfortable with (range of skills) and the actual numbers compare well with most players chosen in the range.
2016 DRAFT 31-39 FORWARDS (2016-17 SEASON)
- The Oilers didn’t have a chance at Yegor Korshkov, who had a fine season in a pro league (KHL). He spiked as a player beginning at the WJs in 2015 and has been quality since. An excellent pick.
- Edmonton had (I’m just talking forwards here) several excellent players to choose from but went with Benson. I recall some articles about Benson having skated and looking recovered from draft year injuries. Benson’s scouting report (two-way forward, aggressive,skilled) suggested a range of abilities. Corey Pronman had him No. 18 overall and mentioned him as a “quality defensive forward” something that would appeal to the Oilers.
- Rasmus Asplund was also available, he got a lot of attention due to skill and skating abilities. I had him at No. 27, he was good value at No. 33.
- Jordan Kyrou was well thought of draft day but his resume mentioned consistency and slight frame (6.0, 175) on draft day may have cost him but Kyrou went inside the range of expectation.
- Pascal Laberge was high on my list (inside top 20) but there were concerns about him as a somewhat one-dimensional type. His draft+1 season was the weakest in this group but we are early days.
- Adam Mascherin was one of the best scorers in the 2016 draft and fell because of his size (5.10) and skating (not slow but not a burner). Mascherin cranked out another great season in his draft+1 year.
- Alex DeBrincat was an outstanding offensive prospect in his draft year (I had him No. 15 overall, Pronman had him in the same range). He duplicated his marvelous 16-year old season in his draft year, and this time without Connor McDavid. In his draft +1 year DeBrincat was outstanding again and as you can see his NHLE suggests he is the class of the group.
Why didn’t the Oilers take DeBrincat? Pretty easy answer, they liked Benson and his range of skills more. The tale of the tape on Benson (6.01, 200) versus DeBrincat (5.07, 163) on their draft days may have contributed and the Oilers may feel DeBrincat is going to find tough sledding at the NHL level (as opposed to junior). That’s a lot of offense being posted by the young man, but there are elements to Benson’s game that probably made a difference for the Oilers. Time will tell, fairly easy to see who is leading the race at this time.
The unfortunate thing for the Oilers is that their man has a story to tell—or he does if he is healthy enough to play hockey. One of the last things we read about him goes all the way back to January:
- Tyler Benson on his injury: “It’s frustrating. I’m just worried about trying to get back to healthy and back on the ice with my team.” Source
I’ve been waiting for an update on Benson and his situation, and today we may have gotten one from the organization. An article on the team website focused on the state of the prospect pool didn’t include an update on him. Unless the “Prospect Pool Volume 2” article coming up includes a medical update, and that may be the case, we may have gotten a big clue today about the state of Tyler Benson’s hockey future.