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Edmonton Oilers

Joakim Nygard Injured, Tyler Benson Gets First NHL Action

It appears Edmonton Oilers forward Joakim Nygard was hurt blocking a shot on Wednesday. This will give prospect Tyler Benson his first taste at NHL action.

There is bad news and good news coming out the Edmonton Oilers versus Calgary Flames game on Wednesday. The bad news is that forward Joakim Nygard was hurt blocking a shot, didn’t return and now it appears he has a potentially serious injury. The good news is, a prospect who’s been waiting a long time for a shot in the NHL is finally going to get it.

Nygard is still being evaluated by the Oilers’ medical staff so it’s hard to know just how bad his injury is or isn’t. But, from the way head coach Dave Tippett explained the situation, it “could be a serious injury.” This would be the second time in his rookie season that he’ll miss time with an injury.

Unfortunately, Kris Russell went down during the game as well and is being looked under the NHL’s concussion protocol.

Related: McDavid Furious: Battle of Alberta Far From Over

Tyler Benson Gets First Shot in NHL

While no player really wants another player to get injured to see their first opportunity in the NHL, this is an opportunity Tyler Benson has been waiting for and working towards for a long time. This will be Benson’s first call-up to the NHL and the 21-year-old forward was drafted No. 1 by the Vancouver Giants in the 2013 WHL bantam draft and showed great promise as a prospect before falling to injury in his NHL draft year.

That injury saw him miss half a season and it dropped his standing in the draft tremendously. The Oilers ended up drafting him at No. 32, passing on some notable junior talent like Alex DeBrincat and Carter Hart.

Injuries plagued Benson for some time but by the age of 20, he was the Oilers top-scoring forward since 2000 and he’s been a call-up the Oilers have been eager to do but didn’t want to rush.

Oilers Have High Hopes for Benson

Kailer Yamamoto was called up and has stuck on the Oilers main roster, contributing on a regular basis and proving his time in the AHL might be over. Edmonton is hoping all that extra time in the minor for Benson has finally prepared him to make a jump and be completely ready for the NHL.

Benson has been described as a driven and hungry player with excellent passing skills. He’s got a wide range of skills that could see him slot in the top-six or bottom-half of the roster. All the Oilers can hope is that he’s not just a suitable replacement for Nygard but makes it difficult for Edmonton to send him back down.

Related: Tomas Hertl Out For Rest of NHL Season

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