January 06 2017 09:35PM
The only question surrounding Tyler Benson on draft day 2016 was health. If he had been able to play a full season in his eligible year, the young Vancouver Giants winger would have been a strong candidate for the first round—possibly the top 15 overall. As it happened, he fell to the early portion of the second round and to his hometown Edmonton Oilers. Benson's draft +1 season has been going very well, in fact, recent production has been very strong. He was scratched the other night in Edmonton and again tonight. What is going on?
The only question on Benson for me on draft day was health. If the Oilers had good knowledge of his health situation, that would give them an advantage at the draft table. Some NHL teams surely liked the player, but injury worries have been helping hedge bets on NHL draftees since 1969 and the first universal selection.
Benson has been quality this year, and even better than that lately. Here are his boxcars by month:
- October: 12gp, 7-6-13
- November: 11gp, 1-11-12
- December: 9gp, 2-13-15
- January: 1gp, 1-1-2
- Overall: 33gp, 11-31-42
In his final 10 games before injury, Benson scored 3-14-17 and looked dominate in most games. Things were (and could still be) looking up for the young winger, but the two games out of the lineup have to be of concern.
WHAT IS GOING ON?
The best available information comes from the left coast, and the Vancouver Sun. Columnist Steve Ewen wrote the following
Steve Ewen: (Giants GM Glen) Hanlon admitted in the press release that the Giants worked in “consultation” with the Oilers on Benson’s status. You can argue that suggests the injury could be serious. You can also argue that the Oilers would have someone check in on Benson no matter what, since he’s in their building. Source
Ewen also said the WHL club has not confirmed the issue, and that he is considered day-to-day. The Oilers haven't made anything public at this time.