March 17: Both players have cleared waivers; Benson has already been loaned to the AHL’s Bakersfield Condors.
March 16: The Montreal Canadiens have placed Mathieu Perreault on waivers, as several players currently on injured reserve get closer to returning. He won’t be alone though, as the Edmonton Oilers have also waived Tyler Benson.
Perreault, 34, actually cleared waivers last season as well, though at that point it was more about his expensive cap hit than anything else. This time the veteran forward is signed for just $950K but has found himself out of the lineup for most of the year, due to injury or inconsistent on-ice play. In 18 games he has just three goals and five points, though that does include an assist in last night’s match against the Arizona Coyotes.
While he may intrigue some teams because of the 700 games of NHL experience, Perreault is long past the point of being a top-six contributor and would likely only fit as a depth piece on a contending squad. Even in Montreal he hasn’t been a regular and is averaging fewer than 12 minutes when he does get into the lineup.
Benson meanwhile is sort of on the other end of his career, unable to break into the league in the first place. The 24-year-old has been outstanding in the minors for several years, was the 32nd overall pick in 2016, and yet can’t seem to make an impact at the NHL level. In 29 games this season he has just two points, and is likely headed back to the AHL to make room for Jesse Puljujarvi should he clear tomorrow.
While Benson does have youth on his side, it’s very unclear at this point whether another team wants to give him a chance through the waivers process. Interestingly enough, clearing waivers actually could potentially raise his trade value for any deadline dealing the Oilers have in mind, as he would then be able to move up and down for any acquiring team instead of sitting on the NHL roster.