Benson

by Lowetide
Tyler Benson photo by Mark Williams

Where is Tyler Benson on Edmonton’s LW depth chart? Who would be his ideal linemates? If he spends the year on an NHL taxi squad, how much would he play?

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BENSON AND DUBE

Dillon Dube was drafted after Tyler Benson in the 2016 draft but arrived in the NHL before him. Here are their respective NHLE’s since pre-draft seasons:

Dube shoots more and has better speed, but he is projecting as a top-9 forward in the NHL. Benson has been consistently behind Dube as a scoring forward and would fit in the top-9 forward projection. Here are their NHLE’s for goals scored:

Dube’s speed and goal scoring make him more dynamic, but Benson’s passing and ability to win battles mean he also has a story to tell. His shots per game totals are low compared to Edmonton’s NHL left wingers (five on five via NaturalStatTrick):

  1. Tyler Ennis 8.72
  2. Andreas Athanasiou 7.97
  3. RNH 7.61
  4. Joakim Nygard 6.73
  5. James Neal 6.06
  6. Tyler Benson 4.42

In the AHL, Benson finished No. 25 among regular forwards 23 and under in primary points at even strength. He is a passer. His 23 primary assists as a rookie in 2018-19 led AHL forwards 23 and under via pick224.com.

So, among centers and right wings, I think Benson will fit best with cyclers, volume shooters and puck transporters. Once inside the offensive zone, he can flourish in puck retrieval and creative passing. Among centers, Connor McDavid (8.13 shots per 60 five on five, he is the best transporter this side of Star Trek), Leon Draisaitl (6.91, the big train runs on time through the neutral zone) and right wingers Zack Kassian (6.2) and Alex Chiasson (5.81) would appear to be the ideal options. He had success in limited minutes with Josh Archibald (4.99).

Benson-Riley Sheahan-Archibald played 41:43 together, going 17-22 (43.59 percent) shot differential, 31-39 (44.29 percent) Corsi (all numbers are five on five) and 1-2 goals. Expected goals percentage for the line was 47.57 and it was 6-6 high danger scoring chances.

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GordieHoweHatTrick

The team is “light” on volume shooters. Hopefully Lavoie can arrive in a few years to bolster that weakness.
With the current line up Benson probably fits best on a cycling line for now, which would suggest bottom 6….

russ99

IMO Benson has more NHL upside than Puljujarvi at this point.

I don’t think he’ll score 30, or even may 20 but he’s a great passer, plays well under pressure and will develop into a solid two-way player.

pts2pndr

Benson has the IQ and passing ability to be a very good complimentary player for McDavid. I believe you could argue that he would be the the best passer on the team not called Draisaitl. He is defensively responsible and strong on the boards. A volume shooter on the other side would be nice but if you were to put JP on the right wing you would have a net front presence and a second very responsible winger. I think that could be a line worth putting together fo a ten game trial. Two young cost controlled wingers who in my opinion would get better with experience and a cost controlled line that you could keep together for a number of years.

Brantford Boy

I’m assuming we’re going to have a lot of comments today about running Benson with Puljujarvi with our newly acquired 3C.

To me, his best linemates already available are AA and Kassian… AA can finish the gifted passes, and Kassian has soft hands too, but the cycle game with Kassian would be intriguing… too bad none of the 3 are centres.

I liked the Benson-Riley Sheahan-Archibald line late in the season, obviously we need an upgrade for Sheahan… so coming full circle who is that newly acquired 3C to run with the kids… Bonino or Haula?

Fuge Udvar

Benson could look real good on McDavid’s wing. If he can retrieve pucks and make those short passes to the soft spots in the offensive zone to give McDavid some space. Of course you will need someone more well rounded than Kassian if you are going to run Benson-McDavid

Too many times McDavid’s wingers try to give him the pick while under coverage.

Fuge Udvar

Brantford Boy,

Athanasiou has played centre for Detroit in the past. I don’t know how effective he was. But that line would probably be relying on a rookie to be the best defensive player on the line.

leadfarmer

Lack of foot speed appears to be a mortal blow

Silver Streak

I wonder if Mrs. Johnson ( Tyer`s Mom and Yammo`s skating coach) would consider Benson as a project. He could turn his biggest negative into a positive in short order. Her two star pupils are testimony to her abilities.

JOFA

I think Benson will fit in well on an all European line in Switzerland 😉

#needtobeabletoskate

Woogie63

Development outside the NHL is a good thing. Oilers with at least 50 games on their AHL team;

1. Klefbom
2. Khaira
3. Yamamoto
4. Bear
5. Puljujarvi
6. P. Russell
7. Benson
8. Marody
9. Lagesson

Ryan

Sam Girard is the player I find most interesting from the second round of the 2016.

He quietly led all AVS defensemen in Toi/60 during the regular season even though he isn’t used on the penalty kill.

Mid 2nd round pick… a defenseman… makes the NHL after one year post draft in the Q.

22 and playing number one minutes on a contending NHL team.

That for me is an interesting player never mind that he was involved in a three team trade.

godot10

russ99:
IMO Benson has more NHL upside than Puljujarvi at this point.

I don’t think he’ll score 30, or even may 20 but he’s a great passer, plays well under pressure and will develop into a solid two-way player.

All the passing in the world isn’t going to help him if he doesn’t have the puck. Benson is an NHL player with the puck. Not an NHL player without the puck. He has to realize that in the NHL that he is going to be playing much more without the puck, so he has to get to places on the ice that he is unfamiliar with, and he has to shoot the puck.

He is not a good enough passer to be an NHL player without becoming a much better player without the puck.

Spartacus

JOFA:
I think Benson will fit in well on an all European line in Switzerland

#needtobeabletoskate

You don’t have to be as fast as McDavid to play with McDavid… or do you?

Is that why it seems impossible for the Oilers to find him decent linemates?

Glovjuice

Third line cup winner: Benson – McLeod – Pulujarvi

leadfarmer

Ryan:
Sam Girard is the player I find most interesting from the second round of the 2016.

He quietly led all AVS defensemen in Toi/60 during the regular season even though he isn’t used on the penalty kill.

Mid 2nd round pick… a defenseman… makes the NHL after one year post draft in the Q.

22 and playing number one minutes on a contending NHL team.

That for me is an interesting player never mind that he was involved in a three team trade.

Great player. Doesn’t get attention because of Makar and doesn’t get top pp time because of it
How much elite d talent is Nashville blowing through trying to scrape a f corps together

OriginalPouzar

Nugent Bowman with an interview with Holland – asked if he’d consider a boy out and the answer “highly unlikely)

Material Elvis

LT, it’s funny that you and Tyler argued how to say Elvis Merzlikens on your podcast yesterday (he was incorrectly pronouncing it) then he doubled down and wrote an article misspelling the name the way he pronounces it.

Unfriendly Regional Arachnid Individual

OriginalPouzar,

Gross.

Material Elvis

Spartacus: You don’t have to be as fast as McDavid to play with McDavid… or do you?

Is that why it seems impossible for the Oilers to find him decent linemates?

Maroon was a very effective winger with McDavid, so no I don’t think you need to be extremely fast. Just need good hockey sense and some finishing ability.

Bruce McCurdy

Fuge Udvar:
Brantford Boy,

Athanasiou has played centre for Detroit in the past. I don’t know how effective he was. But that line would probably be relying on a rookie to be the best defensive player on the line.

Athansiou took a significant number of draws almost every year in Detroit, including ~400 in 2018-19 suggesting he played quite a bit of centre in the recent past. Hiis career win rate of 42.3% in nearly 1000 draws tells us he wasn’t simply a winger taking draws because he happened to be good at the black art. Alas, that is the same sort of terrible success rate that Oilers fans saw with early Cogliano, early Gagner, early RNH, early McDavid, a significant weakness for all of them.

Draws aside, I’m intrigued by the idea of AA at pivot, would be interesting to see. But I don’t suppose the Oilers can plan on it.

Material Elvis

So maybe the plan is Neal on McDavid’s wing next year. That worked alright at times this past season.

buck yoakam

Spartacus: You don’t have to be as fast as McDavid to play with McDavid… or do you?

Is that why it seems impossible for the Oilers to find him decent linemates?

How fast do you think pat maroon is?…I think we are missing the point if we constantly are trying to find speed deamons to play with Connor …he needs someone like adam oates setting him up…could that be benson?…only time will tell…

Material Elvis

Bruce McCurdy: Athansiou took a significant number of draws almost every year in Detroit, including ~400 in 2018-19 suggesting he played quite a bit of centre in the recent past. Hiis career win rate of 42.3% in nearly 1000 draws tells us he wasn’t simply a winger taking draws because he happened to be good at the black art. Alas, that is the same sort of terrible success rate that Oilers fans saw with early Cogliano, early Gagner, early RNH, early McDavid, a significant weakness for all of them.

Draws aside, I’m intrigued by the idea of AA at pivot, would be interesting to see. But I don’t suppose the Oilers can plan on it.

AA is an interesting player. Really great physical tools but seems to lack on-ice vision (in the small sample that we got to see on the Oilers). Would he find his wingers for open plays? Would he be defensively aware? I’m not sure those are his strengths but he could probably do it if he changed his focus.

Unfriendly Regional Arachnid Individual

Material Elvis:
So maybe the plan is Neal on McDavid’s wing next year.That worked alright at times this past season.

Had better hope their RW is Marian Hossa if that’s the plan. Gonna need SOME kind of defensive presence on that line.

JOFA

Spartacus: You don’t have to be as fast as McDavid to play with McDavid… or do you?

Is that why it seems impossible for the Oilers to find him decent linemates?

Schremp shouldn’t be in the league very long. But unfortunately he’ll be gifted an opportunity because of the current cap constraint/Chia debacle. He’ll have a solid pro career in Europe.

Material Elvis

Unfriendly Regional Arachnid Individual: Had better hope their RW is Marian Hossa if that’s the plan. Gonna need SOME kind of defensive presence on that line.

I agree. It’s not ideal and Kassian thinks he is a prima donna sniper now, which is very frustrating. I would buyout Neal but that’s just me.

Unfriendly Regional Arachnid Individual

Material Elvis,

Yes, screw Kassian =P

I’m aboard the buyout train, too, but I imagine the plan likely involves the Neal-Khaira-Chiasson line and then replacing Sheahan with a better shutdown C. At least that latter portion syncs up with what I’d prefer.

Brantford Boy

Bruce McCurdy,

Totally agree and aware of his stint at centre with DRW… unfortunately as Fuge Udvar alluded to we can’t rely on a “rookie to be the best defensive player on the line.”

Unless of course Material Elvis is right and he can be “defensively aware, if he changed his focus”.

Help us AA, you’re our only hope.

Material Elvis

Unfriendly Regional Arachnid Individual:
Material Elvis,

Yes, screw Kassian =P

I’m aboard the buyout train, too, but I imagine the plan likely involves the Neal-Khaira-Chiasson line and then replacing Sheahan with a better shutdown C. At least that latter portion syncs up with what I’d prefer.

That line was decent in the playoffs but a $9M 4th line is eye-watering. And Khaira’s 5v5 play is so uninspiring….Two overpaid but effective wingers and an ineffective center; I don’t love it.

Bruce McCurdy

Watching Bolts-Bruins & admiring the depth of the TBL line-up.

Sad but true fact: Matt Benning would be the third biggest cap hit on the Lightning blueline.

Scungilli Slushy

AC had 5 even strength goals and 11 assists.

The Oilers need more skill and better skating in the bottom 6 for it to be better.

Also a team shouldn’t ice AC and JN. Just way too slow and immobile.

Unfriendly Regional Arachnid Individual

Material Elvis,

I agree, but I’m accounting for a disappointing set of moves that doesn’t really upgrade the bottom-6. I’ve been conditioned to assume he’ll acquire one of the worst possible 3C targets. Because Oilers.

GordieHoweHatTrick

Interesting and challenging with roster planning these days. For me, the fly in the ointment of planning is the JP uncertainty. Maybe (hopefully!), KH has a very solid read on how this is going to play out in the next 2-3 months. While we don’t know how things would turn out if he was on the roster, knowing IF he is going to be on the roster is rather important to sorting out the rest.

The recent verbal from KH from DNB @ the Athletic is that he will nibble around the edges on the line up, no scorched earth…looking for internal solutions as much as possible. Also displaying patience and alluding to the fact that most of the expected movement to rosters will happen after the SC does a few laps in Rogers Place (sans home team). This all makes sense. While he is waiting for the dominoes to fall, I hope he has a good in principle contract agreement with Ethan Bear that they can sign once he has a better idea of what is going to happen. That should be one of the first dominoes to fall for the Oilers. It would be nice if he knows what he could do with Ennis and AA. He should also hopefully have gotten to a place where one of Kris Russell or Matt Benning are in a hand-shake agreement for trade with another organization once the trades start rolling…

Spartacus

JOFA: Schremp shouldn’t be in the league very long. But unfortunately he’ll be gifted an opportunity because of the current cap constraint/Chia debacle. He’ll have a solid pro career in Europe.

This seems like a development issue to me.

Prospects and players sometimes improve their skating, don’t they?

Doesn’t this seem like something ALL prospects should be working on as part of team practice? Not just off-season training on their own, but dedicated practice time every practice day to improve the speed and agility of the entire team and specifically the prospects whose lack of footspeed or awkward skating stride may hold them back.

I feel like Shremp and Omark could have played in the NHL, even at their current level of speed. The difference between the fast players and slow players on an NHL team is only milliseconds per lap.

Seems to me that a guy with skilled hands could clean up a lot of garbage coming in a half-second behind the play.

I wonder if Omark could have stayed in the NHL if he improved his skating during his time in the development leagues?

I think Benson is skilled enough to carve out a legitimate career, in spite of his alleged “slow boots”.

Woogie63

If the Oilers get at least 15 minutes a night from,

Bear, Jones, Yamamoto, Benson and Puljujarvi

That would be a be strong statement for the Bakersfield process and amateur scouting.

Victoria Oil

OriginalPouzar:
Nugent Bowman with an interview with Holland – asked if he’d consider a boy out and the answer “highly unlikely)

This is the best news I’ve seen all week. It shows that Holland’s focus goes beyond one year and that he understands the long-term. A Neal buyout this year would have been value-destructive as it would have locked-in $11.5 million of dead cap space over the next 6 years. Neal has averaged 22 goals and 19 assists per 82 GP over the past 3 years. That has value. Wait at least 1 year before considering buying him out.

Munny

OriginalPouzar:
Nugent Bowman with an interview with Holland – asked if he’d consider a boy out and the answer “highly unlikely)

As I have been stating all along. Only way it happens is as a last-ditch measure.

OriginalPouzar

Munny: As I have been stating all along.Only way it happens is as a last-ditch measure.

Yes, we are on the same page on this one but others have proposed that buying him out is a no-brainer (and others are in between).

The GM was pretty clear on his intent (or lack thereof) on this one.

OriginalPouzar

With apx $10M to spend on 7 players including Bear, AA, a goalie, maybe a 3C (unless he goes with Haas there), etc. Benson, his offensive pedigree skill set and his ELC cap hit likely gets in him on the opening night 23.

I think he could fit on a skilled 3rd line with someone like Puljujarvi or Kassian or even Neal on the right side if they were able to acquire a 3C with some talent and skill.

I also could see him gelling on McDavid’s left wing. I’ve said for a few years now, straight speed is not a requirement to play with McDavid – Maroon proved this. Offensive smarts is more important – knowing how to get McDavid the puck with some space, anticipating where McDavid will be, making plays in small spaces, etc. Benson has these types of skills and he is no shrinking violet on the board.

There could be a match there and he should compete with the likes of AA for that spot.

Bag of Pucks

Bruce McCurdy:
Watching Bolts-Bruins & admiring the depth of the TBL line-up.

Sad but true fact: Matt Benning would be the third biggest cap hit on the Lightning blueline.

They’ve had good success with retread veteran D. They also challenge the meme that you can only win with fleet young D.

McDonagh, Bogosian, Cernak, Coburn, Shenn in the lineup today. None of these guys are speedsters. Is this a Rickibox team? Sergachev and Shattenkirk might say otherwise.

Also speaks to the value of having a true 1D like Hedman that can munch major minutes. Oilers need that player in the worst way. Hopefully it’s Broberg.

OriginalPouzar

Unfriendly Regional Arachnid Individual:
OriginalPouzar,

Gross.

Buyouts are indeed gross – agreed!

Spartacus

OriginalPouzar:
With apx $10M to spend on 7 players including Bear, AA, a goalie, maybe a 3C (unless he goes with Haas there), etc. Benson, his offensive pedigree skill set and his ELC cap hit likely gets in him on the opening night 23.

I think he could fit on a skilled 3rd line with someone like Puljujarvi or Kassian or even Neal on the right side if they were able to acquire a 3C with some talent and skill.

I also could see him gelling on McDavid’s left wing.I’ve said for a few years now, straight speed is not a requirement to play with McDavid – Maroon proved this. Offensive smarts is more important – knowing how to get McDavid the puck with some space, anticipating where McDavid will be, making plays in small spaces, etc. Benson has these types of skills and he is no shrinking violet on the board.

There could be a match there and he should compete with the likes of AA for that spot.

7 years post draft? (dramatic eyeroll) Even Holland thinks that’s too much development time.

He’ll be in the line-up when the next season starts.

Cap constraints will make it so.

Munny

OriginalPouzar,

Yes, sorry, that wasn’t directed at you, was just spring-boarding the quote.

Buying him out does make Armchair Gm a less miserable proposition, so i can see why people do it.

who

Munny:
OriginalPouzar,

Yes, sorry, that wasn’t directed at you, was just spring-boarding the quote.

Buying him out does make Armchair Gm a less miserable proposition, so i can see why people do it.

If people are expecting the Oilers to bring in a significant piece a buyout is almost necessary.
Looks to me like the Oilers will have their hands full just trying to sign all their RFAs and a goalie, and still stay under the cap.
The only other way to create significant cap space, without weakening the team, is a Russell trade.
If he can’t trade Russell, and doesn’t buyout Neal, all Holland can do is nibble around the edges. That’s fine with me, our cap situation is going to look a lot better next summer. And this team was a playoff team this year.
But people who were expecting major changes are likely to be dissapointed.

Munny

who,

Pretty much agreed. A deft trade might help, like Russell for Raanta, but mostly nibbling.

I would take a run at Haula and J. Larsson though.

Kinger_Oil.redux

– Should Benson end up a Jar-type NHL player, thats a win

– I.E.: Flawed, moves around a bit in lineup and position, doesn’t rock the boat, tries hard, good dude, earns a few cheap contracts. Doesn’t move the needle, but you need guys like him: draft and develops that you can pay market rate for, that you control, and don’t need to trade assets to get.

– Legit NHL’er forwards, not all-stars. We don’t have many of those home-grown.

Material Elvis

who: If people are expecting the Oilers to bring in a significant piece a buyout is almost necessary.
Looks to me like the Oilers will have their hands full just trying to sign all their RFAs and a goalie, and still stay under the cap.
The only other way to create significant cap space, without weakening the team, is a Russell trade.
If he can’t trade Russell, and doesn’t buyout Neal, all Holland can do is nibble around the edges. That’s fine with me, our cap situation is going to look a lot better next summer. And this team was a playoff team this year.
But people who were expecting major changes are likely to be dissapointed.

I’m not fine with another year of Sheahan or equivalent at 3C. That is a glaring weakness that needs to be addressed this offseason. That is the only ‘major acquisition’ that they need if you don’t count the goalie.

Material Elvis

Benson will get a chance due to injury this season. Holland’s past history suggests he will get a veteran LW one a one year deal; Benson will have to take that job.