After one professional season, any query marks are actually exclamation factors round Edmonton Oilers high prospect Tyler Benson.He’s gone from: “God, we hope he can keep wholesome,” to: “He seems to be like he may very well be a top-nine NHL ahead quickly.”That is what occurs on the hockey carousel with a farmhand, who battled a run of debilitating junior accidents, however in his first kick on the can as a professional he had a incredible season. He made the AHL’s second all-star workforce, together with the All-Rookie first workforce after ending eighth in league scoring with 66 factors in 68 video games. His 51 assists had been probably the most by a rookie in 11 years, going again to one-time Oilers participant Teddy Purcell, who had 58 for the Manchester Monarchs, Los Angeles’ farm squad in 2007-08.“Originally of the yr, in case you had instructed me this may be how the season would go, I’d have been very excited. Coach (Jay Woodcroft) pulled me apart earlier than apply and instructed me. It’s fairly particular,” mentioned Benson, who is aware of he has to work on skating greater than Oilers coach David Pelletier as he did this previous summer season, however his palms don’t want work.Benson could also be a kind of playmaking wingers when he will get to the Oilers, extra like Jonathan Huberdeau in Florida than David Pastrnak in Boston. Or, to show again the clock, Ales Hemsky in his days right here, with out Hemsky’s foot-speed and talent to go end-to-end, then cross it off as Hemsky so usually did.Benson and his centre, Cooper Marody, (64 factors, 58 video games) are quite a bit alike on the farm.“Tyler’s a gifted passer,” mentioned Woodcroft. “This man makes performs.”“But he’s within the high two on our workforce in photographs (173) so he’s embraced that half as nicely. He’s not one-dimensional and he’s actually labored on that. Taking part in with Cooper is one thing to see, too. They’re ethereal folks, the way in which they see the sport is analogous in order that’s why they’ve chemistry.”Benson, who simply turned 21, does see himself as extra passer than shooter like Huberdeau who had 30 targets and 62 assists in Florida this previous season..“I’ve at all times been extra an help than a aim man. After I get the puck, I’m normally seeking to play a play. My imaginative and prescient on the ice is certainly one of my greatest issues. I like to seek out teammates on the ice within the O-zone or breakouts,” he mentioned. “I do shoot too for rebounds. That’s one other method to get assists. And in the direction of the top of the season, I began to complete extra of my possibilities (15 targets).”Whereas Josh Currie (27 targets), Joe Gambardella (29) and Marody received referred to as up this season, with Currie getting 21 video games, Gambardella 15 and Marody six, Benson didn’t get a sniff at the same time as a late-season perk as a result of they wished him on the farm for the entire yr. The Oilers have rushed Kailer Yamamoto and Jesse Puljujarvi to the NHL as first-round picks (Yamamoto 26 video games, one aim, 5 factors over two years; Puljujarvi 139 video games, 17 targets, 37 factors, over three seasons), however they’ve modified their plan.Interim GM Keith Gretzky desires the draft picks percolating within the minors.“We’ll see with Tyler. If it takes one other three months (within the minors) or no matter,” mentioned Gretzky.However Benson wasn’t dissatisfied.“I believed I’d get an opportunity however I used to be comfortable for the fellows who had been referred to as up and I used to be at all times watching how they had been enjoying. I didn’t need to let it (no call-up) weigh on me,” he mentioned. “Now that the season’s over, there’s nothing to fret about besides the workforce right here and the playoffs.”Benson, who was in a position to get by way of the season fully wholesome after enjoying simply 183 video games in junior over 4 seasons with Vancouver Giants (hernia, cyst on his tailbone and different illnesses) was stored abreast what the Oilers considering, by way of Woodcroft.“They wished me to have a full season to construct my sport so once I do make the step, I’ll be prepared,” he mentioned. “I’m undecided what the roster will seem like subsequent yr, however I’ll be coaching to make the workforce.”He is aware of his skating has to enhance.“I labored on all of it final summer season and in the course of the season, and can once more this summer season with David (Pelletier). To make the step to the place I generally is a high line participant within the NHL, I’ve to have the ability to separate myself from checkers, create some open area for your self and get in on the forecheck,” he mentioned.However, his physique’s in a single piece, and so his head-space.“It was large for me to get by way of your complete yr (wholesome),” mentioned Benson, who would have been a first-round choose in 2016 however for his medical historical past, with Oilers taking a run at him with the 32nd total choice.E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.orgOn Twitter: @NHLbyMatty
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