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Oilers Close To Signing Matt Benning?

August 22, 2016, 11:48 AM ET [300 Comments]
Matt Henderson
Edmonton Oilers Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Word on the street is that he Oilers are about to sign Matt Benning to a professional contract. Benning, related to that other Benning in Vancouver, completed a tour of duty at Northeastern University of the NCAA where he developed his game as a right shooting defender.

If your ears perked up, it’s because as an Oiler fan you know this team is dying for right shooting defenders at every level. There is nothing in Benning’s recent history to suggest he’s going to compete for an NHL spot right away, but Edmonton has all kinds of opportunities at the AHL and NHL level for those defensemen of a certain handedness.

Benning is 22 years old, a right shot, 6 feet tall, and comes in weighing 203 pounds. Chiarelli and the group of mangers/scouts he brought over bit by bit from Boston ought to be very familiar with Benning since he was originally a 6th round pick of the Bruins in 2012. I don’t think it’s altogether that strange that the Oilers under Peter Chiarelli would try to fill depth positions with players he’s familiar with. I mean, it’s not like Matt Benning is going to be on the top PP unit of the Oilers.

The entire depth chart for the Right side of the defense in the Oilers organization looks like this:

1) Adam Larsson (NHL)
2) Mark Fayne (NHL)
3) Ethan Bear (WHL)
4) Filip Berglund (SHL)
5) John Marino (NCAA)
6) Vincent Desharnais (NCAA)

There isn’t a soul in the AHL on an NHL deal and as excited as I am about Filip Berglund, he isn’t signed to a deal yet either. Edmonton needs somebody in the AHL who might conceivably be able to come to Edmonton in the event of an injury or god forbid because they’ve earned a shot. Next year Bear should graduate, but that’s not soon enough for the organization. They need bodies. That’s where Benning enters the picture.

The first place I saw Benning’s name was when Bob Stauffer mentioned him as a possibility. It was also noted that Vancouver was very much in the mix to get the young defender. There is a natural fit with the Canucks organization since Jim Benning is at the helm over there. Still, there are reports from people like Guy Flaming (who covers Jr hockey in Alberta and would have followed the Career of the former Spruce Grove Saint closely) that Edmonton is going to sign Benning soon.

I don’t see Benning as the answer to any NHL questions, but any depth in the American Hockey League would be new to this organization so I’ll take it.

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