TYLER BENSON’S BIG YEAR

The Edmonton Oilers find themselves in the window to win a Stanley Cup this coming season. Going down a track alongside that train is a disturbing lack of a feeder system that will be required to overcome roster holes and deadline procurement requirements. It’s an issue.

Every prospect in the system, from Jesse Puljujarvi through Braden Christoffer, is a possible trade piece and a possible solution to an NHL problem. Edmonton needs as many assets as possible to feed the fire. Some of these kids will emerge as NHL options and others will be used as trade item to bring in deadline help in 2018 through 2028. It’s a gigantic part of the future and Peter Chiarelli must fill the prospect field annually.

  • Bob Green to Bob Stauffer on Tyler Benson: “I don’t think he will see on ice action at this tournament. We want to get him ready for the season with Vancouver.”  Source.

Benson is a substantial prospect but his injury history has placed him in a danger area as a prospect. Let’s call it the “Marc Pouliot-Doug Lynch Danger Zone” and I do think Benson is in it. It is discouraging to hear Benson won’t playa role in yet another rookie camp. It is encouraging to see the organization has some hopes for him in terms of playing an entire WHL season, as Benson has played 44 percent of his team’s games over the last two years. Valuable development time has been lost and Benson needs to post something close to 72 games in the coming year. When healthy, he does deliver offensively (70 points in the 63 games, NHLE 26.4) and his resume suggests a range of skills. Tyler Benson is a quality asset if he healthy and this season appears to be his best chance to show he can endure the rigors of an entire campaign.

2016 DRAFT, PICKS NO. 31-39

  • 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, he has two points in six KHL games so far in 2017-18.
  • 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” which is 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. Edmonton drafted their small RW one year later in Kailer Yamamoto.

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 quotes 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 imagine Benson remains frustrated, this time because he’ll be unable to play at the Young Stars Tournament. That’s a setback for sure, but eyes on the prize and hopefully he’ll be game ready upon arrival in Vancouver.

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47 Responses to "TYLER BENSON’S BIG YEAR"

  1. OriginalPouzar says:

    I’m not overly concerned about Benson missing rookie camp or main camp as long as he is 100% for Vanouver’s 1st game. Yes, I’d very much prefer for him to be on the ice at our camps (particularly main camp) but the most important thing is to play some damn hockey this year, all the hockey.

    I still haven’t closed the door on him being on the ice for game 1, playing so well that he makes the WJHC team and finishing a full and healthy season.

    This organization really needs Benson to re-establish himself as a real prospect and all he needs to do is play.

    He is a value contract to produce at the NHL level in the making – just play hockey Tyler, just play hockey.

  2. geowal says:

    From the off-topic curio file:
    “New #Oilers jersey numbers! Caggiula changed to 91, Khaira switched to 16, Slepyshev is now 58, Jokinen will wear 36 & Auvitu will be 81.”

  3. JDî says:

    geowal: Auvitu will be 81

    I thought he would take 82.

  4. jtblack says:

    There are a number of risks when drafting. The Oilers added another possible risk by drafting Benson. They knew he had issues. Its so hard to get a 2nd rounder to the NHL. In Hindsight they should have steered clear of Benson, even though they liked him. Clearly there were other quality options avail @ #32 that didnt come with injury problems.

  5. JDî says:

    Some clarified butter and meditation will help get Tyler healthy again.

    And if it doesn’t, I’m the first to work a Guillaume pun into a post about Benson.

  6. digger50 says:

    I would say that at least skating at Rookie camp would be very important.

    To hold back from camp in early Sept in order to play the season opener Sept 22 at 100 per cent is wishful thinking. If he cannot skate and practice at camp I highly doubt he will be in the season opener, and certainly not 1oo%.

    Important to get him on the right track, so he may be slow played due to injury or the need for rest. I doubt he is fully recovered and unlikely to put up good numbers. But taking the slow road still could lead to success.

  7. digger50 says:

    Passing on Debrincat last draft is why I felt the Oil would pass on Yamamoto this year. I was surprised when they took Kailer.

    Kind of wonder “what if” they took Debrincat at 32, he just finished a season producing an NHLE of 50. Would Connor be looking forward to playing with his old wingman? He would be a rookie of course, and small, but could he fit in that right wing?

  8. oscarmike says:

    Oilers can use Benson in a trade package for Andreas Athanasiou. Instead of spending the extra cap space on UFA they can sign him to a 2-3 year deal.

  9. digger50 says:

    jtblack:
    There are a number of risks when drafting. The Oilers added another possible risk by drafting Benson.They knew he had issues.Its so hard to get a 2nd rounder to the NHL.In Hindsight they should have steered clear of Benson, even though they liked him.Clearly there were other quality options avail @ #32 that didnt come with injury problems.

    So true.

    We discuss how the Oilers absolutely Must fill the prospect pipeline. Then they add risk by choosing a player battling injury and a highly skilled but small player at #22. Both could be very good, but given the upcoming needs they should have went for players with higher degree of certainty in their futures.

  10. digger50 says:

    Better than taking Benson or Yammer, take the next 2018 second rounder and trade it to Vegas for Theodore.

    Or Detroit for Athanasiou (?)

  11. JDî says:

    Backhand: Not sure if this came up, sounds like the Oil are in on Cody Franson:

    First I’ve heard of it.

    LT?

  12. geowal says:

    JDî: First I’ve heard of it.

    LT?

    From last thread:
    JDI:
    September 5, 2017 at 2:27 pm
    Rick Dhaliwal‏ @DhaliwalSports
    Been told UFA Cody Franson is down to Edmonton or Chicago. Vancouver never called.
    (Quote) (Reply)

  13. geowal says:

    JDî,

    I see what you did there. Set me up to quote you…to you. 👍
    I’ll show myself out.

  14. OriginalPouzar says:

    Not to derail the thread but I’m quite excited about the prospect of signing Franson for 1 year.

    I’m been fairly vocal about my concern with injuries piling up on the back-end given we are already with a very material injury and a 2nd line with question marks and Gryba playing daily (subject to a Fayne, Stanton, Auvitu, Simpson taking minutes away).

    Assuming a one year deal, its a no-brainer if Chiarelli can make it happen.

    No, Franson isn’t “all that” despite some consistently nice advanced numbers. What he would do is push Gryba out of the every day lineup to start the year, provide some competition with Benning for 2RD as well as 2PP and provide additional injury cover.

    Lets get this done.

  15. BornInAGretzkyJersey says:

    digger50,

    Personally speaking, I just feel that DeBrincat would have been the wrong choice. The skeptic part of me says that he produced incredibly well after Connor left the team, but he still had Strome (either as a linemate or to provide cover, not that I researched the ice time splits). And he was playing against his peers. Playing against adults with full on man strength is different. Something about Yammamoto being able to drive his team up the standings all on his diminutive back is a whole other kettle o’ fish.

    Not to say that I would have drafted Benson, either. Which, is not to say that I’m not a fan of the young man, either. Just that he feels eerily like Pitlick 2.0 to me; skilled, gritty and always injured.

  16. Lowetide says:

    BornInAGretzkyJersey:
    digger50,

    Personally speaking, I just feel that DeBrincat would have been the wrong choice.The skeptic part of me says that he produced incredibly well after Connor left the team, but he still had Strome (either as a linemate or to provide cover, not that I researched the ice time splits).And he was playing against his peers.Playing against adults with full on man strength is different.Something about Yammamoto being able to drive his team up the standings all on his diminutive back is a whole other kettle o’ fish.

    Not to say that I would have drafted Benson, either.Which, is not to say that I’m not a fan of the young man, either.Just that he feels eerily like Pitlick 2.0 to me; skilled, gritty and always injured.

    I would love to know the speed gap (if there is one) between DeBrincat and Yamamoto. Who is the better skater? Because these smaller men need to have fast boots.

  17. BornInAGretzkyJersey says:

    digger50,

    Agreed.

    Luckily, the new brain trust seems consistently able to find value beyond the first two rounds in the draft. Miles to go before we know, but the future looks promising.

    Bear, Jones, Paigin, Samorukov, Wells, Maksimov, Safin, Rasanen, Niemelainen… they all represent better bets than we’ve become accustomed to over the last decade.

  18. Pescador says:

    BornInAGretzkyJersey:
    digger50,

    feels eerily like Pitlick 2.0 to me; skilled, gritty and always injured.

    If he ever makes it that far, I will consider him a success.
    Incidentally say the Oilers had drafted Debrincat, who do they pick instead of Yakimotto?

  19. BornInAGretzkyJersey says:

    Lowetide,

    Agreed. Also the ability to take and make a play at speed. DeBrincat showed he had that ability with CMD, and we’ll have to guess about Yammamoto.

    I’d say the close second to speed, for smaller players, is hockey IQ. They have to think the game exceptionally well to make up for their lack of size.

    What I like about Yammamoto is that he’s not shy to mix it up, gritty play isn’t foreign to him if he’s not a true agitator.

  20. BornInAGretzkyJersey says:

    Pescador,

    Maybe both, and hedge their bets for a small, skilled winger? Who knows, haha.

  21. digger50 says:

    Lowetide: I would love to know the speed gap (if there is one) between DeBrincat and Yamamoto. Who is the better skater? Because these smaller men need to have fast boots.

    Fast and fearless. Which are words I’m hearing that describe Yamamoto

  22. stush18 says:

    BornInAGretzkyJersey:
    Lowetide,

    Agreed.Also the ability to take and make a play at speed.DeBrincat showed he had that ability with CMD, and we’ll have to guess about Yammamoto.

    I’d say the close second to speed, for smaller players, is hockey IQ.They have to think the game exceptionally well to make up for their lack of size.

    What I like about Yammamoto is that he’s not shy to mix it up, gritty play isn’t foreign to him if he’s not a true agitator.

    I don’t think debrincant is either.

    I think the main issue was the oilers had very little for forward prospects, and risking a forward not turning out because of size (debrincant) would not have done this franchise any favours.

    Even if benson never fills out his potential, he’ll still be able to play the bottom of the lineup

  23. digger50 says:

    Speaking of speed, many potential rosters I view have Drake and Kassian on the fourth line. That’s really some pretty good speed on the wings.

    Based on Joe Gamardellas descriptors, I would love to see him get a few games in between these two wingers. All are fast buzzsaws, can forecheck like mad, win puck battles, good on the boards.Could be a heck of a fourth line.

  24. Woogie63 says:

    If the Oilers offered Franson 1x $2M how could CBH match they are at the cap right now.

  25. BornInAGretzkyJersey says:

    digger50,

    What would you prefer, between your suggested fourth line and one of:

    JJ – Yakimov – Kassian

    (in a year or two, of course)

  26. digger50 says:

    BornInAGretzkyJersey:
    digger50,

    What would you prefer, between your suggested fourth line and one of:

    JJ – Yakimov – Kassian

    (in a year or two, of course)

    Not sure what you mean.

    I prefer JJ, doubt Yak2 ever makes the team, and Kassian develops his PK ability so he can contribute more.

    But really we have had leftovers on the fourth line for some time. We have some depth here now to roll a speedy, effective fourth line.

    Drake. Gambardella. Kassian

    . Letestu gets pushed out unfortunately. He has been very valuable but his 5×5 production is low. If Tmac does keep him he could use him for specialty teams and double shift Connor at 5×5.

    Drake. Connor. Kassian

    Also pretty good line!

  27. OriginalPouzar says:

    digger50: Fast and fearless. Which are words I’m hearing that describe Yamamoto

    Normally these types of descriptions are considered valuable assets for a player and they might very well turn out to be for Yamamaoto (and maybe even become key in propelling him to the NHO).

    With that said, I do see the possibility of Kailer having to learn to choose his spots a bit better when he’s playing against men. His “I’m coming right at you” attitude may not work in the NHL with his size.

  28. digger50 says:

    1. Maroon. Connor. Jessie P

    In words of our host “start as you mean to go”

    I see Jessie winning the spot. Love Drai completing the best line in hockey but need him down here…

    2. Milan. Leon. Sleppy

    Little slower, heavier puck possession, cycle line. Whole different style.

    3. Jokinen. Nuge. Strome

    Three players that think the game well, great passing. Should win share of board battles. Double up
    On centers one left, one right handed. Can penalty kill. Useful, trustworthy line. I may have underestimated Strome but I think he is too slow for first line and going to be just “okay”

    4. Drake. Letestu / Gambardella Kassian

    High energy, fast, surprising line that can hurt you.

    JJ Khaira – good big body who may not score a lot but can contribute and not hurt you wherever he slots in.

  29. stush18 says:

    digger50,

    I don’t think JP will make the team tbh

  30. kgo says:

    Benson could miss this whole year to injury and he still has 3 years left of his elc, likely two years before waiver eligibility…this year isn’t that important in the grand scheme of things.

  31. digger50 says:

    stush18:
    digger50,

    I don’t think JP will make the team tbh

    I agree that betting on him first line right wing is very optimistic. I think he gets there sooner or later, I’m thinking he surprises in a good way this year.

  32. kgo says:

    What does jarmo kekkalainen, the well connected Finn GM who passed on JP, know that we don’t know

  33. Lowetide says:

    kgo:
    Benson could miss this whole year to injury and he still has 3 years left of his elc, likely two years before waiver eligibility…this year isn’t that important in the grand scheme of things.

    The thing is, it is. Development years are vital, and he’s lost one already in the last two seasons.

  34. LMHF#1 says:

    I have zero expectations for Benson. Still not sure why so much time is spent on him. The road back is long and unlikely.

    Going to hurt every time Debrincat pots one. Would have been such a nice winger to have at this juncture.

  35. Doug McLachlan says:

    Woogie63:
    If the Oilers offered Franson 1x $2M how could CBH match they are at the cap right now.

    The Hawks have Hossa going on LTIR so they have the space.

  36. trencan says:

    Pescador: If he ever makes it that far, I will consider him a success.
    Incidentally say the Oilers had drafted Debrincat, who do they pick instead of Yakimotto?

    LMHF#1:
    I have zero expectations for Benson. Still not sure why so much time is spent on him. The road back is long and unlikely.

    Going to hurt every time Debrincat pots one. Would have been such a nice winger to have at this juncture.

    Eeli Tolvanen

  37. Washingtron says:

    Just a heads up LT, I’m based in the states (LA) and some poker website pop up Ad blocks the whole page and occasionally hijacks the site entirely and just takes me to their site instead of yours. Having just spent last weekend in Vegas I do NOT need more encouragement. The arena looks good though, just not Rogers. Like how their New York New York and Eiffel Tower are pale analogs of the real thing.

  38. Edmonton Oilers #2 prospect Tyler Benson is a splendid young player skating under a cloud of question marks | Edmonton Journal says:

    […] have seen it before. I see where Lowetide referenced Marc Pouliot and Poor Doug Lynch in his own recent post on Benson ; the name of Tyler Pitlick came up in its comments section, and I’ll add here that of Curtis […]

  39. Soup Fascist says:

    kgo:
    What does jarmo kekkalainen, the well connected Finn GM who passed on JP, know that we don’t know

    I suspect he knew that Columbus did not have a potential 1C in the organization since they traded RJ for Seth Jones.

  40. hunter1909 says:

    Hunter1909’s Oilers Death March

    Returns for another season!

    Bigger and better than ever!

    Here’s how you play: Simply enter the amount of points you expect the Edmonton Oilers to get during the 2017-18 season.

    At the end of the season, the player(s) with the closest total wins!

    It’s easy!

    contest open unti lthe opening puck drop of the2017-18 season

  41. Professor Q says:

    Lowetide: I would love to know the speed gap (if there is one) between DeBrincat and Yamamoto. Who is the better skater? Because these smaller men need to have fast boots.

    There does appear to be a gap there. Yamamoto is faster and more skilled of a skater (elite vs. average), while DeBrincat is known for more “dirty pool” aggressive style of play and an elite shot (even though Yamamoto is known for also being fearless and gritty and has an OK shot himself, but not elite).

    I think if some of these wingers pan out, Puljujärvi and Yamamoto especially for the RW, Benson somehow for the LW, and I AM rooting for him to do so, plus the Russians, that we’re in a good spot to have 5-10 really, really good years alongside McDavid and Draisaitl.

  42. Lowetide says:

    Hunter: 100 points.
    Professor: Great post. Also 100 points.

  43. OriginalPouzar says:

    stush18:
    digger50,

    I don’t think JP will make the team tbh

    I’d be very surprised if he didn’t but, if the shows he’s not quite ready, I hope management is able to make the right decision and let him develop a bit more in Bakersfield and keep a player like Rattie on the roster.

  44. OriginalPouzar says:

    kgo:
    Benson could miss this whole year to injury and he still has 3 years left of his elc, likely two years before waiver eligibility…this year isn’t that important in the grand scheme of things.

    These development years have proven historically to be quite important. Even in your scenario, I would not shut the door on the prospect, however, I don’ think turning pro without having played hockey in almost 2 full seasons is a scenario that sets up a prospect for success.

  45. OriginalPouzar says:

    kgo:
    What does jarmo kekkalainen, the well connected Finn GM who passed on JP, know that we don’t know

    To me this post presupposes that Puljijarvi isn’t progressing as anticipated, a supposition I cannot get on board with.

    There were well researched posts/articles/blogs out there last summer regarding top 10 Euro draft picks and their production first year in NA. Reasonable expectations had a top end NHL protection of 25 points from JP, a pace he was essentially on.

    As the youngest player in the AHL last year, he performed well when finally sent down and he got his bearings (and was played with proper players and on the PP).

    His season was uneven last year partially due to deployment (reduced ice, in and out of the lineup, finally re-assigned).

    Not to mention that last summer was spend rehabbing his knee injury as opposed to training.

    To imply the pick was a miss at #3 can only really be made if expectations were unreasonable to start with.

  46. stush18 says:

    stush18:
    digger50,

    I don’t think JP will make the team tbh

    OriginalPouzar: I’d be very surprised if he didn’t but, if the shows he’s not quite ready, I hope management is able to make the right decision and let him develop a bit more in Bakersfield and keep a player like Rattie on the roster.

    If he’s ready than awesome. But I would send him down, let him work on husband game some Moreno until Christmas.

    I really am excited about rattie. He could honestly reach out and grab a spot. He’s learned to be a pro in a very good organization. I’m expecting him to come out shooting.

    Well know more if he’s placed on a skill line in camp

  47. godot10 says:

    hunter1909:
    Hunter1909’s Oilers Death March

    Returns for another season!

    Bigger and better than ever!

    Here’s how you play: Simply enter the amount of points you expect the Edmonton Oilers to get during the 2017-18 season.

    At the end of the season, the player(s) with the closest total wins!

    It’s easy!

    contest open unti lthe opening puck drop of the2017-18 season

    Shouldn’t we be calling it a “parade march” now instead of a “death march”?

    Asking for a friend. #EvenBylsmaHadAParadeOnce

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