There are two key seasons for young prospects: Draft year (usually 17) and first year pro (mostly 20). Among forwards drafted by the Oilers who played in the AHL at 20 this decade, Tyler Benson is the class of the group.
1 Tyler Benson 68, 15-51-66 .971 [2018-19]
2 Tobias Rieder 64, 28-20-48 .750 [2013-14]. NHL regular at 21.
3 Jesse Puljujarvi 39, 12-16-28 .718 (age 18) [2016-17]
4 Kailer Yamamoto 27, 10-8-18 .667 [2018-19]
5 Teemu Hartikainen 66, 17-25-42 .636 [2010-11]
6 Bogdan Yakimov 57, 12-16-28 .491 [2014-15]
7 Marco Roy 42, 8-12-20 .476 [2015-16]
8 Phil Cornet 60, 7-16-23 .383 [2010-11]
9 Tyler Pitlick 62, 7-16-23 .371 [2011-12]
10 Greg Chase 19, 1-6-7 .368 [2015-16]
11 Anton Lander 14, 1-4-5 .357 [2011-12]
The Athletic Edmonton features a fabulous cluster of stories (some linked below, some on the site). Great perspective from a ridiculous group of writers and analysts. Proud to be part of the group, here’s an incredible Offer!
- New Lowetide: The Oilers are finally recovering from the wayward 2014 Draft
- New Lowetide: Projecting Darnell Nurse’s next contract and possible trades
- New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: A missing mom, aching feet and looking for Kevin Lowe: A week in the life of Oilers prospect Raphael Lavoie
- New Lowetide: What to do when Connor McDavid rests: The Oilers’ ideal No. 2 line for 2019-20
- Lowetide: Adding a scorer will be Ken Holland’s first big move as Oilers GM
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: What the Oilers’ depth chart looks like now and where they go from here
- Jonathan Willis: How often do goalies like the Oilers’ Mike Smith rebound?
- Lowetide: Ken Holland’s roster moves clear the way for Oilers top prospects Tyler Benson and Kailer Yamamoto.
- Jonathan Willis: Oilers GM Ken Holland promises long-term rewards for an approach light on short-term improvements
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Trade market now most likely place for Oilers to find scoring winger
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: ‘He comes as advertised’: Philip Broberg’s skating makes him development camp standout for Oilers
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Oilers plan to skew younger on defence could open the door for Evan Bouchard, Dmitri Samorukov
- Lowetide: Oilers top 20 prospects summer 2019.
- Lowetide: Are these Jesse Puljujarvi’s final days with the Edmonton Oilers?
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Ranking the Oilers’ trade assets from the high-priced diamonds to those needing fresh starts
- Lowetide: Oilers GM Ken Holland is shopping for 20-goal scorers on a budget. What will he find?
TYLER BENSON, REASONABLE EXPECTATIONS 2019-20
What role will be play in Edmonton? Based on the current depth chart, I have Benson as the No. 2 LW in terms of what he can bring offensively (he’ll trail Leon Draisaitl but should deliver more than Jujhar Khaira and Markus Granlund). Joakim Nygard will also have some input and I think Ken Holland would prefer Benson as a recall option when and if something derails. He’s on my roster as of today.
What role will he play in Bakersfield? No. 1 LW, power-play and penalty-killing time. You can see the appeal of sending him down and having Benson tear the cover off the ball for 30 games. Edmonton might need a boost around that time.
What has changed since his draft day? The two biggest items are health and high performance. Benson was among the AHL’s best rookies and Jay Woodcroft raved about him all season. It was a strong year he can build on.
Anything else? If you’re looking for a perfect fit married to a gigantic opportunity, it exists with Benson in Edmonton. Ken Holland may (and I think will) change the equation, but if no transactions occur over the rest of the summer, Benson is in a sweet spot.
What about his lack of speed? He will go as far as his foot speed takes him. I like the HockeyProspect.com assessment from Benson’s draft day: “Benson is not the speediest of skaters but does have above average acceleration and ability to create space with a powerful lower-body.” We’ll have to see about Benson’s speed in the NHL.
What is the current LW depth chart? I think Tippett’s depth chart will be Leon Draisaitl, Milan Lucic, Markus Granlund and Jujhar Khaira. Maybe Joe Gambardella as the extra. A strong training camp gets Benson at least No. 3 on this list, I’ll bet No. 2.
What one thing will get Benson to the NHL? His passing. The only better passing LW on the roster is Draisaitl. He made a pass in the AHL last season that was freaking perfect, I mean memorably perfect. Man. It was so good. No. 6 on this highlight.
What kind of depth chart do you see opening night? I believe there will be a trade, and suspect a veteran scorer to be part of the story.
Like? Let’s take James Neal. If you can add him and subtract Lucic, that makes the depth chart Draisaitl, Neal, Granlund, Khaira and Gambardella.
With Benson the first recall? Yes. Exactly.
Who are his comparables? Based on his boxcars at 20 in the AHL, the list of comparables ranges from meh to wow. Alexander Khokhlachev is a comparable and hasn’t made it yet, but Chris Tierney, Dylan Strome, Daniel Sprong, Markus Granlund all either made it or are on the way. It’s too soon to tell on Nick Merkley.
How much will he score as a rookie? If he plays 60 games in the NHL this season, and gets 12 minutes a night at evens, I’ll say 7-14-21, somewhere in there .
So, no Calder Trophy? If he gets with McDavid anything can happen. However, I think he’ll move up and down the lineup. And to be sure, his rookie season could be next year.
He signed a two-year deal with the Carolina Hurricanes that looks reasonable on first blush. I rated him, some others did not, but most Oilers fans are frustrated with the lack of a strong scoring addition and a third-line center. Understandable.
At this point, if Holland doesn’t have a move or two in his back pocket, then we’re going to be watching a lot of rookies in what will be a development season. If you know Ken Holland, you also know that runs counter to his own established template.
I think there are many moves to come this summer and suspect the Oilers will be in on a few. Fans are mad at Holland because he hasn’t made any loud noises, but his series of one and two year deals has improved the depth.
I remain convinced there’s a move to come that addresses the top-six forwards. If you subtract Lucic and add Neal to the left side, the Draisaitl-Neal-Granlund-Khaira depth chart might contain 80+ goals — right now I’m estimating 68 for the top for LW’s.