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ROOKIE CAMP: Benson putting healthy off-seasons to good use

Tyler Benson is building off his second consecutive healthy off-season, and is eager to see how it will translate to the 2019-20 campaign

by Paul Gazzola /

EDMONTON, AB - Of all Tyler Benson's 2018-19 American Hockey League accolades - the 66 points, 51 assists, 20 multi-point games, 10-game point streak, the AHL All-Rookie Team nod and Second All-Star Team inclusion - there's one he favours most.

The forward was pleased with the fact that he competed in a full 68-game schedule for Bakersfield - not missing a single match.

"That might be one of my favourite accomplishments last year: was playing a full season," Benson, who was drafted in the second round of the 2016 NHL Draft, said Thursday at Oilers Rookie Camp. 

"I think I was the only player to play all the games for the Condors. I was pretty happy with that. The best thing to do was be on the ice. Just mentally, I was a lot happier."

Video: OILERS TODAY | Rookies Report 09.05.19

The Edmonton, AB, product edged Condors Captain Keegan Lowe and William Lagesson by one game to earn the club's Ironman Award. He attributes the healthy off-season he had going into the '18-19 as one major reason for his durability.

"I didn't really change a whole lot but I mean, before last season was the first summer of full training," he said. "Just having that and getting stronger helped me a lot. I was a lot more confident out there."

Benson was fortunate to remain injury-free once the Condors playoffs were over. It was his second consecutive summer with no recovery or lingering issues, allowing him the ability to continue evolving his game off the ice. 

The prospect, like many other Oilers hopefuls, has his sights set on a spot with the big club. And with opportunity aplenty on the Orange & Blue's left flank, there's no doubt in the winger's confidence heading into Rookie Camp.

Video: ROOKIE CAMP | Benson 09.05.19

"That's my goal coming into camp: I want to be on the left side playing with whoever on the team," Benson said. 

"I set goals and I feel like I've had a really good off-season of training. I'm ready for Camp now."

Benson admitted he didn't know what to expect heading into his first pro season but now feels much more comfortable when sharing the ice with fellow journeymen.

"Being out there skating with the pros, I feel like I belong more," he said. "It's just different coming in this year than last year."

For an Oilers squad looking to get an added amount of secondary scoring, Benson is in full belief that he can provide it.

"That's my goal: to come in and help the team. That's what I want to do and this is where I want to be this year."

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