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Benning back in Beantown

by Ryan Frankson /

Milan Lucic isn't the only Edmonton player returning to Boston this week for the first time as a member of the Oilers. 

Matt Benning is also back in a familiar setting after spending the last three seasons playing NCAA hockey at Northeastern University. The defenceman was also originally drafted by the Bruins in 2012, so his Boston connections are two-fold.

After the Bruins didn't sign their draft pick, the Oilers scooped him up as a free agent this past August. The 22-year-old will play his 28th career NHL game tomorrow night at TD Garden.

"It'll definitely be a lot of emotions," Benning said following Wednesday's Oilers practice. "In college, I played here about eight or nine times, so I'm familiar with the building. The Boston organization brought me in and taught me a lot."

Benning left his mark on the Northeastern Huskies program, suiting up for 110 games over three seasons and contributing 56 points (9 goals, 47 assists) during his NCAA career. He'll have his own cheering section tomorrow night as many of his friends who are still on the team will be in attendance.

"I'll be buzzing out there, because I've got a bunch of teammates coming to watch me from college," he said. 

Benning has recorded six assists in 27 games with the Oilers this season, averaging 16:44 TOI per contest.

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