Tyler Benson is off to the Vancouver Giants (WHL) organization, in the hopes of playing a complete and productive season between this day and spring. It’s beyond vital for Benson, who has missed substantial time due to injury over the last two seasons.
- 2015-16: Missed all but two games after January 1 due to pubic bone issue. Source
- 2016-17: Missed all but 33 games due to similar injury, led to hernia surgery in summer. Source
Benson has played 63 of 144 WHL games over the last two seasons (44 percent) and that kind of absence impacts development. This is serious business, a young man’s career is at least somewhat in doubt and his outer marker is probably less than it might have been. Edmonton took the risk (lots of talent still available when Benson was chosen) and so far it doesn’t look fabulous. A full season (Giants have played 12 of 72 games already) will give us a good idea about him as a prospect. If he can’t play in most of those 60 games (and possibly World Juniors), well that tells us a story as well.
MARC POULIOT INJURY HISTORY
- Injured at the Top Prospects game before his draft in 2003 when Dion Phaneuf leveled him with a vicious (and clean) check.
- In the summer of 2003 he got hurt at the Canadian WJC camp in Calgary (hip) and that had a major impact on his 18-year old season. It also hurt his performance at the Oilers rookie camp just two months after being drafted.
- In November 2003 he suffered an abdominal injury and missed the Q/Russia prospects game and he played on 42 QMJHL games that season, finally having surgery in Montreal in summer 2004 to repair the abdominal tissues.
- He played 3 weeks with a broken wrist during the 2003-04 season.
This was all in one calendar year and his maladies (including mono during the Stanley run in 2006) continued unabated. It had a major impact on Pouliot’s NHL career (192 games). In his draft+1 year, MP played 42 of 70 games (60 percent).
IS BENSON THE NEW POULIOT?
We don’t know what we don’t know, but at this point the Oilers can’t count on Tyler Benson to emerge whole next fall as a ready pro player. If he can play most of the final 60 Giants’ games this season, plus some playoffs (perhaps a trade to a stronger team) we may be able to change the story. Right now, a lot of questions face Benson this winter, he’ll have the opportunity to start building a resume in the coming days.