Flames Second Round Targets 2016: Tyler Benson

Tyler Benson was the first overall selection in the 2013 Western Hockey League Bantam Draft. He was coming off of a bantam season with the SSAC Lions that saw him rack up 146 points in 33 games. That’s almost 4.5 points per game.

Truth be told, Benson’s 99 games in the WHL is probably the first time in his hockey-playing life that he hasn’t been an over a point-per-game player. It also coincides with him likely not being completely healthy, as he missed 10 games in 2014-15 and 42 games in 2015-16 with a recurring lower-body injury (and complications therein).

Once thought to be a slam-dunk, sure-fire top 10 pick in this year’s draft, Benson could be available when the Calgary Flames draft at 35th overall in the second round.

SCOUTING REPORTS

I didn’t have a chance to see Benson in-person this season, so I’m a bit reliant on scouting reports from others.

From Future Considerations:

A powerful kid who uses both his brains and skill to outplay his
opponent. He has some skating issues that will need work, but is hard to
contain down low and can really be dangerous deep in the offensive
zone. He just owns the boards, protects the puck and wills himself to
win most one-on-one battles. His shot is pro caliber, and he needs
little space or time to put the puck in the net.

From Andrew Levangie of McKeens:

Although not a
game-breaker when it comes to speed, he has above-average acceleration
and ability to create separation … This comes from a powerful lower
body that produces a strong and stable stride. His power aids in fending
off checkers … Continues to push the pace especially when carrying the
puck; often has good solo efforts in transition … Uses his body well
to guard and hold off defenders and keep them on his back and away from
the puck … This flows from strong, precise edge work where more lower
body strength is obvious … Stops and starts make him slippery and tough
to defend, especially off the wall, powers through his edges to drive
his way to the net and create scoring chances.

THE NUMBERS

When controlling for estimated ice time (via Prospect-Stats.com), he’s better in even strength points per 60 minutes than players like Sam Steel, Cliff Pu, Matt Phillips and Brett Howden. When you factor in that he was probably not 100% during this season, battling his injuries, he probably should be in the conversation as a mid-to-late first round pick like Dillon Dube, Pascal Laberge, Max Jones and Taylor Raddysh.

Benson was not healthy this season and was the best player on a team that didn’t have a ton of big guns (and missed the playoffs because they didn’t have Benson to be their difference-maker). Despite all of that, he still managed pretty impressive scoring totals (when he did play).

FIT WITH THE FLAMES

Let’s be honest here: the Flames can always use talented forwards that are hard to play against. The biggest problem the club has is that their big players aren’t particularly good and their good players aren’t particularly big. Benson’s listed at 6’0″ and 200 pounds, and the scouting reports are pretty consistent that he’s a pain in the ass to play against in terms of using his body and physicality.

Should the Flames be overly concerned with Benson’s injuries? I can see some teams being a bit hesitant in drafting Benson early, all things considered. But the Flames have three picks in the second round and five picks in the first 65 selections in the draft. Benson ticks off a ton of boxes for the Flames – offensive talent, size, toughness – and that could be enough to give them some courage to take a “gamble” on him. Considering that Benson’s improved every season he’s played up until hitting the Dub, the big question on him is whether injuries hampered him or if he topped out. History suggests that he could be ready for a big leap forward when (and if) he can stay healthy for 72 games.

If he’s got a clean bill of health, this could be the second draft in a row where a player with first round talent falls into the Flames’ laps in the second round. Oliver Kylington’s turned out well enough thus far, and Benson could be a very savvy pick this year.

SUM IT UP

Benson hasn’t quite lived up to his draft-day hype in the WHL, but his underlying numbers are pretty impressive for somebody who was dealing with a lingering lower-body injury for the majority of his major-junior tenure. If he’s got a clean bill of health, he’d absolutely be worth the risk when the Flames select in the second round.

Previous draft targets: Alexander Nylander | Pierre-Luc Dubois | Matthew Tkachuk | Jakob Chychrun | Olli Juolevi | Clayton Keller | Alex DeBrincat | Sam Steel | Vitalii Abramov | Jake Bean | Tyson Jost | Mikhail Sergachev

  • freethe flames

    These are the types of player profiles that I have been waiting for. Benson is a clear candidate to drop to 35 and would be a legitimate prospect for the Flames. If he is BPA at 35 you need to take him. I can’t wait to see the next number of prospects that fit this range.Like everyone else outside of maybe the top 5 he is likely 2-3 years away and that is fine.

  • Kevin R

    Personally, if Abramov is available once we start getting into the low 20’s, I would rather package 35 & 54 for him. If this kid is there at 58 then fine, but his injury trend scares like it will probably scare other teams & rightfully so. With 3 2nd round picks, we absolutely need to get 2 players that will be very coveted & getting Nylander/best defender & Abramov from this draft would be absolutely fantastic

  • Baalzamon

    Yes please.

    35.4% of team. Better by that measure than Mike McLeod, Logan Brown, Adam Mascherin, Julien Gauthier, Taylor Raddysh, Dillon Dube, Brett Howden, Max Jones.

    he probably should be in the conversation as a mid-to-late first round pick like Dillon Dube, Pascal Laberge, Max Jones and Taylor Raddysh.

    In the conversation? He’s better than all of those guys even WITH the injuries.

  • The GREAT Walter White

    Don’t get your hopes up; In all likelihood we will use OUR second round pick on a goalie. Probably a goalie who is not on anyone else’s radar while the consensus #1 goalie is still on the board…..

    WW

    • Baalzamon

      The thing is, the consensus #1 goalie is, for some reason, Evan Fitzpatrick who… uh… isn’t good.

      Are you saying that you’d complain if the Flames passed on Fitzpatrick for, say, Carter Hart (who is really, really good)?

  • King Quong

    Although Burke has said the flames will likely move one or a couple of the flames second rounders for a goalie near the draft I would love for the flames to grab both Steele and Benson.

    • freethe flames

      Why are so concerned with what BB has to say? Isn’t BT the GM? There are at least 3 ufa goalies to meet the flames needs, 3 ufa’s that can be traded for (yes draft picks as currency) and we currently have 4 younger goalies in the fold(if you include Ortio). Draft one if you must but make it after the 3rd round.

      • King Quong

        I’m not concerned at all I’m just acknowledging the fact that Burke said the flames plan on using some of those 2nds to trade for a goalie so it might not be possible for the flames to get both Steel and Benson in the 2nd round. Although honestly I’d rather have a stability and a starting goalie for a decade than two forward prospects and a 30+ year old declining goalie. But all in all I trust Treliving and Burke (mostly Treliving) as a flames fan I haven’t felt like banging my head against the wall in quite a while and I attribute that to Treliving. Whatever the flames do this summer I’m pumped for next season.

        • freethe flames

          I have no problem with trading draft picks for team needs and a starting goalie is indeed a team need.The questions are what is the cost of acquiring one(asset management) and what will the cost of signing (cap space).

          The number one choice by many on this sight is Andersen from the Ducks: IMO he will be the most costly in regards to acquiring(#35++) and the most costly to sign.(talbot+ money) There are other options that may be a better fit.

          Pickard from Colorado is younger and does not have the same resume as Andersen but I think will be less expensive to acquire (54+) and will be less expensive to sign.(jones type contract) Also I believe he played for Team Canada at the worlds and therefore BT will have a better book on the person.

          These would be my top two choices for using a 2nd rounder + to acquire. I would love to hear who others think the Flames should target and what the cost would be to acquire.

          • Burnward

            With Gillies in the fold, either swap veteran players or sign Reimer/Johnson/Ward/Enroth.

            Get a proven guy who can play though to bridge the gap. No more guessing.

            Any capital in picks/excess prospects, should be spent on young(ish) offense.

            Overpay if you need to with picks/prospects…but the D is set up…lots of cheap young depth on the way all over.

            Time to kick this rebuild into overdrive.

          • freethe flames

            I don’t disagree with you as I would prefer to go the UFA way and agree with 3 of your 4 names. Again in accessing them Reimer probably is the first choice but the most expensive (how much is anyone’s guess but he should range between Jones and Talbot money x 3 years). Johnson is the second choice and should be no more than Jones money times 3 years. Enroth should be much less.

            Who would you try and target for youngish offense and what would you pay? (these are the kinds of conversations I like to engage in on FN)

          • Burnward

            Couple guys that come off the top off my head that could be available…or at least, reasonably attainable: Josh Bailey, Tyler Ennis, Craig Smith, Nemestnikov.

            Not sure about cost, but these are the kind of guys I’m thinking.

            Oh and Tatar out of Detroit. I think him and Bennett would play off each other really well.

          • freethe flames

            I don’t really have a reason other than I think he might be more in demand. What I found interesting was Raanta re-upped with the Rangers for 2 years at $1m.

  • Oyo

    Was reading some sportnet articles today and they posted their final rankings of the top 30 prospects for this draft.

    A little of topic but I noticed that Chychrun has now dropped to the 4(!) ranked defensemen behind Joulevi, Sergachev, and McAvoy. Plus he has fallen behind much more controversial prospects in Logan Brown and Tyson Jost.

    Should this be a concern if Flames draft this guy??

  • GodsGotSandals

    Nylander at 6 and benson at 35? The injury thing could be concerning depending on what kind of Injury it is but if he’s “hard to play against” and the offensive talent is there I think he s worth gambling on. Kinda wierd in the scouting reports that the first one says his skating needs improvement then the second one praised his skating. I’m not a scout but I’ve seen him play and I didn’t notice anything bad about his ability to get around, thought he was pretty fast accually.

  • Stan

    When an article about a prospect doesn’t even have the prospects stat line….

    You’d think that would have been something good to include in the ‘numbers’ section…