2016 NHL Draft
C/LW Tyler Benson
Vancouver Giants (WHL)
Steve Kournianos | 12/20/2016 | New York |
The Draft Analyst Ranking:
Position: Center/Left Wing
Height/Weight: 6’0 196 lbs
Born: March 15, 1998, Edmonton, AB
Obtained: Selected by the Vancouver Giants in the first round (first overall) in the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft.
Notes: 2015-16: Shut down for the remainder of the regular season in late February from an apparent groin injury…Missed entire month of September and most of October after a lower-body procedure…Tallied at least one point in 16 of 19 games after he had a goal and an assist through his first seven games of the season…Registered a goal and four assists in five games for Team Canada’s gold-medal entry at the 2015 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup…2014-15: Registered a goal and three assists in seven games for Team Canada at the 2015 IIHF U-18 World Championship…Tied for third in scoring among WHL 16 year olds with 45 points (14 goals, 31 assists) in 62 games. His 45 points were good for fourth in team scoring…His 31 assists were the third most by a WHL rookie last season, trailing only Spokane’s Kailer Yamamoto (34) and Regina’s Same Steel (37)…Picked up a goal and an assist in five games for Canada’s “Team Black” at the 2015 World U17 Hockey Challenge…2013-14: Appeared in seven games for Vancouver as a 15 year old without registering a point after spraining his MCL…Scored a goal in six games for Team Canada Pacific at the 2014 World U17 Hockey Challenge…Drafted by the Vancouver Giants in the first round (first overall) in the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft.
It can be difficult to shed a label when you’re a teenager, let alone a teenage hockey player who happens to be one of the most prolific midget scorers the province of Alberta had ever seen. But Vancouver center/wing Tyler Benson has certainly done his part to avoid being pegged as anything but the things you want to see in a prospect. To say Benson has done it all at the amateur level would be a bit of an understatement. Not only did he smash all critical scoring plateau’s in Alberta’s Major Bantam Hockey League, but he was also the top pick in the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft, one of the league’s top rookies, and an oh-by-the-way dominant performance on Canada’s top line at the 2015 Hlinka. Players can be assessed as complete players – that doesn’t mean they exceed the standard in all areas of the game. Benson, on the other hand, comes pretty darn close, almost in an Eric Staal (when he was dominant) kind of way. He is a nightmare to defend because he is as physically punishing with the puck as he is without it. There are only a few of his 2016 draft-eligible peers (Auston Matthews in particular) who makes successful on-the-spot corrections once a chance to create offense in a specific area of the ice is no longer an option. Benson is very shifty with tremendous balance, meaning he can continue to move if he gets hit at the same time he decides to change direction. Possessing the kind of vision and IQ he owns makes it no surprise the CHL came close to giving him “exceptional” status to play a full season as a 15 year old (cut short by a knee injury). And while some felt his production last season (45 points in 62 games) was unbecoming of a CHL’er almost honored in the same manner as John Tavares and Connor McDavid, his ability to swarm the puck and do something with it thereafter makes him a highly-dangerous prospect to overlook. We’re still not sure whether to classify him as a playmaker or a scorer because he can be both, sometimes off the same cycle, when he will either create quality chances for others, or grab the puck and wire a heavy, accurate shot with a quick release. The sky’s the limit for the Edmonton native, and as far as the CHL is concerned, we think he’s almost there.