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BLOG: Benning using off-season to improve shot and accuracy

With the potential to see some power play time in 2017-18, defenceman Matt Benning is preparing for the opportunity

by Paul Gazzola /

The absence of Andrej Sekera, who tore his ACL in Round 2 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Anaheim Ducks, leaves a void on the Oilers back end to begin the 2017-18 season.

With that comes an opportunity for other Oilers blueliners. In particular, Matt Benning, who could potentially see some power play time once the regular season arrives come October.

Benning is aware of his chance and used the off-season to strengthen his shot and its precision.

"Moving forward into the off-season, the coaches commented on me working on my shot and getting my shots through," Benning said at the Syncrude Oil Country Championship presented by AECON on Tuesday.

"I think that's something every defenceman can do. That's just one thing I worked on and if I do get the opportunity on the power play, I have to make the most of it."

Video: 1-ON-1 | Matt Benning

Benning, who stayed in and around Edmonton for a better part of the summer, revealed how he's been working on his release and accuracy.

"It's a bit of reps in the shooting cage," he said. "We have a shooting cage at the rink and that's one part of it. The other part is just getting stronger and being able to push more."

Benning is aware of the impact a seeing-eye shot can have on the man-advantage and believes it's part of the development process for young National Hockey League defenders.

"You just got to find the puck to the net and that's often one of the hardest things to do," the 23-year-old said. "It's something you have to figure out over your career and that's part of developing as a younger player."

Benning posted three goals and 15 points in his rookie season.

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