WHO IN THE WORLD OF SPORTS IS MATT BENNING?

Matt Benning is a college free agent and in the signing window at this time. The Edmonton Oilers have been mentioned as a possible destination, so it is probably time to have a longer look at a talented young player.

WHO IS HE?

  • Kirk Luedeke, The Scouting Post: Although he has just average height, Benning
    is a punishing hitter who moves around the ice initiating contact.  He’s
    got the vision and a soft touch on the puck to be effective in the
    transition game, and he also showed some improved power on his point
    shot this season for the Huskies. He’s not a flashy or dynamic offensive
    presence, but he chips in with key production, as he did in helping the
    Dubuque Fighting Saints to the USHL’s 2013 league championship. Benning
    is positionally savvy with a willingness to do the dirty work and like
    his dad, Brian, might be one of those players who goes on to fashion a
    solid if unspectacular NHL career because of his versatility and smart
    s. Source
  • Hockey’s Future: Benning is the son of former NHL defenseman Brian Benning and the
    nephew of Canucks’ GM Jim Benning. He is a rugged defensive defenseman
    with some offensive elements to his game. He has average height but is
    heavy and strong and can be a devastating hitter. His skating needs work
    and his overall game must continue to develop during his college
    career. His ability to step right into the lineup at Northeastern and
    play a key role in his first two seasons suggests he can be a late-round
    sleeper.
    Source

TALE OF THE TAPE (HE IS A RIGHTY!!!)

  • Shoots Right
  • 6.0, 203
  • Boxcars: 41, 6-13-19
  • Team Rank: No. 2 scorer among defenders on Northeastern team
  • NHL equivalency: 82, 4-10-14
  • 2010-11 AJHL Champion Spruce Grove Saints
  • 2012-13 Clark Cup Champion Dubuque Fighting Saints
  • 2015-16 NCAA Hockey East Champion Northeastern University Huskies

WHAT IS HE?

The Oilers have this bizarre issue with their lefty-righty pairings defensively. No big deal, but recent information (Peter Chiarelli has mentioned this is an organizational priority) informs us a left-right pairing is substantially more effective than two lefties (across all lines). Edmonton has constructed the Leftorium:

leftorium

Peter Chiarelli has been aggressive since his arrival, especially this summer where he drafted two righties (Filip Berglund and Vincent Desharnais were drafted, Frank Simonelli is a righty from the Boston system who has signed in Bakersfield, Aaron Irving—former Oil Kings blue—has been invited to training camp as per Bob Stauffer), plus Adam Larsson, as well as adding players around the edges at the pro level.

Benning appears to be a legit NHL prospect, and is righthanded. He is a little smaller in stature than most of Chiarelli’s hires, but he is a tough defender and the NHLE (using the Roatis) suggests he does have some offensive ability (in the Dillon Simpson range as opposed to the David Musil range).

He appears to be a reasonable bet and Edmonton is in the mix. We wait.