I am beginning to think many Oilers fans have the wrong idea about Tyler Benson. I keep reading about a slow checker who has major issues as a prospect. Part of it likely comes from injuries last season (cyst removal, groin injury) and part of it may come from a vague scouting report. Allow me a moment to set the scene on Benson.
- Craig Button, November 2014: “He reminds so much of Jamie Benn at the same age. Tyler can make plays off the wing or score off the wing, and guys like him are rare. He thinks the game at such a high pace, and that translates when you can make plays, when everything around you is busy.” Source
- Claude Noel, who coached Benson: “He thinks the game at a really good level. He has a tremendous feel for where people are. His pursuit is excellent. He’s physical, he’s strong on the puck.” Source
Those reports are basically pre-injuries reports, and Benson had some real health issues during his draft year. If you cast about the internet, you can find some pretty down scouting reports. According to Prospect-Stats:
- His .700 even-strength points-per-game ranks him No. 2 among (first time) 2016 draft-eligible WHL forwards (Dillon Dube, .707—he was chosen No. 56 overall by Calgary).
- His .567 primary even-strength points-per-game ranks him No. 2 among (first time) 2016 draft-eligible WHL forwards (Dillon Dube, .585—he was chosen No. 56 overall by Calgary).
- He did this on a team that won 23 games, and the Giants were one of five teams in the league to score fewer than 200 goals.
These numbers were compiled in a season where he was never right. I know a scout, he sometimes answers my questions (as long as the draft is over). He scouts for an American team. I reached out and asked about one thing on Benson: His skating. What came back? When healthy, Benson is a very powerful skater, and the strongest skater among WHL 2016 eligible players in this draft.
We know he has the hands, he was scoring at a rate that was better than all but Dube when far less than 100 percent. We do not know if he is healthy. If he is, the idea that he could reasonably be described as a checker is nonsense. It was this year when he was not healthy, truth to tell.
RIGHT, RIGHT, BLOODY WELL RIGHT
Kevin Shattenkirk is an interesting player at this point in the summer. Jeremy Rutherford has an article today about Shattenkirk and his agent expecting a trade, well worth the read. Among the items of specific interest to Edmonton: The agent expected a trade on the weekend, expects one today; it sounds like western teams are involved, and a new contract certainly appears to be part of the exchange. It also gives us a value comparable (Dylan Larkin, Jonathan Drouin) as the ask, and I would suggest Leon Draisaitl (young, NHL successful, years of control) as the most likely Oilers candidate.
- LD Hampus Lindholm, Anaheim Ducks. Perfect fit, if available.
- PK Subban, Montreal Canadiens. If available, shoot the moon.
- Travis Hamonic, NY Islanders. Perfect fit, if available.
- Kevin Shattenkirk, St. Louis Blues. Would you trade Leon for him?
- Jared Spurgeon, Minnesota Wild. Very good player.
- Jason Demers, Dallas Stars. Wilford Brimley: The right thing to do.
- Tyson Barrie, Colorado Avalanche. Might cost the Nuge. Weird match.
- Jacob Trouba, Winnipeg Jets. If he shakes loose, Oilers may pounce.
- David Savard, Columbus Blue Jackets. Range of skills.
- LD Brian Campbell, Florida Panthers. Just money, big help.
- Matt Dumba, Minnesota Wild. Has some nice things.
- Damon Severson, New Jersey Devils. A nice underlying option.
- Ryan Pulock, New York Islanders. Big shot from the point has high value.
- Ryan Murphy, Carolina Hurricanes. An attractive later choice.
- Brandon Montour, Anaheim Ducks. This could be a special player.
- Connor Carrick, Toronto Maple Leafs. Apparently, they did not qualify him.
- Zach Redmond, Colorado Avalanche. Darcy likes him as a depth D.
- Cody Franson, Buffalo Sabres. Hammer from the point.
- Colin Miller, Boston Bruins. Bruins qualified him, may not be available.
- Dennis Wideman, Calgary Flames. A year removed from a fantastic offensive season.
BENNING: anyhoo, look over the contract. *steps out of office*
LUCIC:*phones agent*he keeps offering me draft picks on top of $ what do I do
— Andy Cole (@AndyCole84) June 28, 2016
Lucic is talking to Vancouver and will talk to Edmonton. I believe he is coming here. You should put the same value on my opinion about this as you do on the possibility of your dog singing Sweet Caroline. Oilers have to be an attractive option—McDavid, new arena, he will be a legend here—and money plus term should be competitive. Danger here, ladies—and we all know it, including Peter Chiarelli. Lucic replaces Hall, Hall fetches Subban. That could be the play here. Do not be surprised to see Lucic sign in Vancouver.
UFA blue-liner Jason Demers and UFA winger Milan Lucic both scheduled to be in Edmonton today as Oilers sell them both on their market/team
— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) June 28, 2016
- Pierre Lebrun: “Oilers are absolutely loaded up front. I mean, they’ve got too many top-6 options. They’re rich in one area, and not too rich elsewhere. So the way to fix your blueline will come from one of those forwards, and I have absolutely extreme confidence that Chiarelli will pull the trigger here, if not this week, certainly in the off-season here. His conversations have kept going with a number of teams and I think he’ll get that done.” Source
I think Chiarelli will have the lay of the land in regard to Lucic and Jason Demers (who is going to be very expensive) by Thursday, so we might see a trade (possibly earlier) by the Oilers. My list of free agents (defense excluded) PC should pursue (in order):
- Steven Stamkos
- Jason Demers
- Frans Nielsen
- Milan Lucic
- Brian Campbell
- PA Parenteau
- Lee Stempniak
- Brett Connolly
- David Backes
- James Reimer
- Jhonas Enroth
- Chad Johnson
- Loui Eriksson
- Tomas Vanek
Speeds wrote a dandy item on Seth Jones, I recommend reading if you have not already. An OS this summer is a solid option, and the threat of it is perhaps stronger now than it was before draft weekend.
On that note, plenty of discussion about Edmonton’s ability to offer sheet this summer, what with the Peter Chiarelli second-round compensation heading to Boston next summer. It is my understanding that the Oilers can in fact offer sheet this summer, with the ability to kick the Bruins compensation down the road to 2018. The information came available via Renaud Lavoie and his blog, I wrote about it here. After reading the Lavoie piece, and writing that article on Oilers Nation, I reached out to a contact with knowledge of the NHLPA engagement. It is this person’s understanding that the Lavoie piece is accurate. With that established, it is my belief Edmonton can in fact proceed with an offer sheet that includes their own second-round selection in 2017.
6th year may be key in Lucic deal. Would guess he will insist on it. May be more than some teams would be willing to do.
— Ryan Rishaug (@TSNRyanRishaug) June 28, 2016
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
Interesting day ahead, we are back on the Lowdown. TSN1260, beginning at 10, scheduled to appear:
- Scott Burnside, ESPN. It is all happening and Scott will guide us through the trade and free agency rumors.
- Jonathan Willis, Cult of Hockey. The Oilers list (Lucic, Demers, possibly Russell according to reports) does not match the Oilogopshere’s. What is PC thinking?
- Steve Kournianos, The Draft Analyst. Steve knows the draft—I reached out on Saturday for information on pick Desharnais and he had a thumbnail report to me in minutes. We will walk through the Oilers draft and pick winners and losers among the 30 teams.
- Guy Flaming, Pipeline Show. The CHL Import draft goes this morning, and some Oilers picks could be in play. Any Oil Kings picks to be used on Stampede Rasanen?
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Finally, we are back!!