The Edmonton Oilers have signed minor league forward Tyler Benson to a one-year, two-way contract for the 2021-22 season. The deal will pay him $750K at the NHL level. Benson was a restricted free agent this offseason but did not qualify for salary arbitration.
It’s been five years now since Benson was selected 32nd overall by the Oilers, and despite very strong minor league numbers he still has just seven games played at the NHL level. This season the young forward started the season playing in Switzerland, before re-joining the Bakersfield Condors when the AHL season got underway. In 36 regular season games with the Condors, he once again put up big numbers, scoring ten goals and 36 points.
There’s never really been a question about Benson’s offensive upside at the AHL level, but he has failed to ever really grab an NHL roster spot and run with it. He’ll likely get another chance at training camp this season, battling with players like Brendan Perlini for the last few spots. This time, there’s a big difference in his favor–Benson is no longer waiver-exempt.
That means the Oilers would need to risk him to the rest of the league in order to send him to the minor leagues, and though waiver claims are relatively infrequent, a 23-year-old point-per-game AHL player would likely attract some interest. If there was ever a chance to have the best training camp of your career, it’s now for Benson.