At #32, we have Tyler Benson, left wing for the Vancouver Giants of the WHL.
Heading into his draft season, Tyler Benson was pegged by scouts to be a #10-#15 pick. He set a Bantam scoring record, averaging 5 points per game with the Southside Athletic Club of Edmonton. He was drafted #1 overall by the Vancouver Giants in the 2013 WHL draft. Then came a series of maladies in the 2015-2016 season. He had a cyst on his tailbone which require surgery, and later missed time due to a groin injury. He only played 30 games in the WHL this season and missed the NHL Prospects showcase in Vancouver as a result. The Giants also had a subpar season, so Benson didn’t get a bump in stats by playing with higher quality teammates. Scouts are now wondering if he’ll live up to his potential.
That potential, however, is top flight. Benson is not a flashy player, but a complete, efficient player with superb hockey sense. He’s an excellent goal-scorer and passer in equal measure. While he’s not considered a big player at 6’0″, 201 lbs., he plays a powerfully physical game, using his body either protect the puck well or to deliver a punishing checking game. He’s difficult to knock off the puck because of his strength, but he’s also slippery and shifty.
If there are any knocks on his game, it’s that he could improve on his skating speed as well as his overall consistency of play. There don’t appear to be any concerns about his groin injury and cyst malady as far as their effects on his health. Rather, it’s the time spent away from the game and away from development that have raised doubts and questions about where he’s at as a hockey player. He’s currently projected to go late in the first round or early in the second round, which puts him right in the mix of candidates the Bruins would be looking at.