The Edmonton Oilers are now one step closer to getting forward Tyler Benson back in the lineup. The winger has now been assigned to the Bakersfield Condors, Edmonton’s AHL affiliate, on a conditioning loan, says Bakersfield. It’s still unclear when the Oilers expect Benson to rejoin the NHL squad, however they will have 14 days with which to get Benson back into game shape and assure he can be fit onto the NHL roster. Edmonton currently has just under $3.6MM in available LTIR space, though Benson represents $750K of it, and 22 of 23 roster spots spoken for.
Benson’s injury came at a tough time for the 24-year-old who figured to make the team out of training camp as an effective low-cost depth forward. The winger has been working to establish himself as a regular in the Oilers lineup, playing in 29 games with the team last season. With Edmonton facing a tough salary cap situation this season, getting Benson back healthy won’t necessarily have the impact getting Evander Kane back in the lineup would, but should give the team an affordable player capable of playing NHL minutes.
At issue for Benson, a former second-round pick of the Oilers, is his production. In those 29 games last season, the winger had just two points, despite being an offensive force down in the AHL. In 18 games with Bakersfield last season, Benson had 12 points, as well as 36 points in 36 games the year prior, and a career-high 66 points in 68 games back in 2018-19. Edmonton’s need for affordable depth should give Benson another chance to prove he belongs at this level even after this injury setback, but he’ll likely need to shine this time around.