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Tyler Benson was the first overall pick of the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft, and seen as a key foundational piece for a rebuilding Vancouver Giants organization. He’s been very good when on the ice for the Giants. but has been limited by injuries. After scoring five points in four games for Team Canada at last summer’s Ivan Hlinka tournament and bringing home a gold medal, Benson missed the start of the season with surgery to remove a cyst on his tailbone. After coming back he suffered another lower body injury, and has been out of the lineup, including missing the CHL top prospects game. He came back, re-aggravated the injury and was lost again. Overall, he was limited to just 30 games this year, but was effective with nine goals and 28 points in those games. Internationally, he was also an underager on Canada’s 2015 IIHF Under 18 World Championship team that won the bronze medal. He picked up four points in seven games during the tournament.
Tyler Benson Scouting Report: 2016 NHL Draft #31
Left Wing — shoots Left
Born Mar 15 1998 — Edmonton, ALTA
Height 6’00” — Weight 196 lbs [183 cm/89 kg]
Tyler Benson has shown to be a strong skater and plays a very gritty and physical game. He has very good speed and quick acceleration which helps him to get in quickly on the forecheck and force defenders to make plays quickly or be plastered into the boards. When the puck does get turned over, he gets himself into good position to let go a strong wrist shot or a blistering one-timer. He has a great first step, which helps him to get to loose pucks, or to transition quickly when a teammate creates a turnover in his own zone, creating breakaways and odd-man rushes. Benson has a powerful stride which allows him to fight through checks and get to the front of the net. His agility and edge work are also good, with the ability to maneouver through traffic.
A natural goal scorer, Benson can hurt the opposition in a variety of ways. As mentioned he has a hard and accurate wrist shot with a good release. He also has a very good one-timer. He is also willing to stand in front of the net and take punishment to get tip ins and rebounds. Benson does well in protecting the puck in the cycle game. His excellent lower body strength gives him good balance, and he has the frame to protect the puck in battles. He has the stickhandling ability to take the puck off the wall, and get around a defender to create a play, but is not one to make a huge number of fancy moves in transition. Benson does have the ability to be a playmaker as well, with strong tape-to-tape passes and good vision.
Benson’s defensive game is also ahead of the curve for a 17-year-old. He helps on the backcheck, applying backpressure to support his teammates in defending against the rush. He is willing to work down low and help in containment against the cycle game, and uses his grit and tenaciousness to fight for loose pucks. While he can be very good when he applies himself, there is some criticism that his defensive effort is not consistent game to game. Benson plays a physical game and can throw big hits in all three zones. He is also not afraid to drop the gloves to protect himself or a teammate. He sometimes needs to keep his temper in check though, as he can take some bad penalties.
Tyler Benson has the potential to be a two-way winger with a top 6 role in the NHL. He must solve the injury concerns, and be more consistent on a game in and game out basis for that to happen though. In terms of style, his game is similar to a combination of Blake Wheeler of the Winnipeg Jets and Dustin Brown of the Los Angeles Kings, though this is a style comparison only and not one based on talent level. He has the versatility to play both centre and wing at the junior level, but has spent most of his time at left wing. It is likely that he will slot in as a winger going forward as well.
The following is a compilation of Tyler Benson highlights, taken from youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the #32 prospect on our NHL Draft board.