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Edmonton Oilers

Oilers Demote Tyler Benson, James Neal Ready to Return

It appears James Neal is about ready to return to the Edmonton Oilers and Tyler Benson is being sent back to the AHL.

It appears the Edmonton Oilers are getting good news, which is unfortunately also bad news for Tyler Benson.

The injured James Neal sounds like he’s ready to go and should get into the Oilers next contest on Tuesday against the Chicago Blackhawks. With Neal set to return, Benson has been demoted back down to the Bakersfield Condors of the AHL.

In two games for the Oilers, Benson had no points and wasn’t much of a factor. A long-time AHL player, Benson has been playing well in Bakersfield this season with 35 points in 42 games but he’s yet to make a transition to the NHL game.

Neal, has been a pleasant surprise for the Oilers with 19 goals and 29 points in 50 games so far this season. Coming over from Calgary that sent Milan Lucic to the Flames, Neal has been a regular in the Oilers top-six until he missed a handful of games with a mysterious foot injury that turned out to be a sprained ankle.

He’s been a bit cold lately but the Oilers could certainly use his presence on the top line as Zack Kassian has been demoted with some poor play and Connor McDavid could use a regular winger.

The Oilers are fighting for the playoffs this season sitting second in the Pacific Division, one point behind the Vancouver Canucks. Edmonton will try to win its second-straight game Tuesday as the meeting the Blackhawks who are also fighting for their playoff lives and four points back of a Wild Card spot in the Western Conference.

This may be the last the Oilers will see of Benson this season should the team stay healthy as speculation is Edmonton is looking for another top-six winger at this year’s trade deadline, making it even harder for Benson to crack a spot in the lineup. That said, the Oilers have high hopes for Benson next season.

Related: Toronto Maple Leafs Trade Snippets: Morgan Rielly, Salary Loophole, Kasperi Kapanen for Adam Larsson & Jesse Puljujarvi?

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