With the youngest roster of any team in the 2016-17 NHL playoffs already, it looks like the Edmonton Oilers will double down on their youth movement by adding another rookie to the team’s lineup for tonight’s game against the San Jose Sharks. Head coach Todd McLellan announced this morning that defenseman Matt Benning will draw into the lineup for the Oilers tonight replacing Eric Gryba on the team’s blue line.
The 22 year-old rookie defender will play his first career NHL playoff game this evening after having played 62 games for the Oilers during the regular season this year. The Edmonton native has looked good along the way, potting three goals and adding 12 assists for 15 points on the team’s bottom pairing.
Originally drafted by the Boston Bruins in the 6th round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, Benning signed a two year, entry-level contract with the Oilers this past summer after never coming to terms with the Bruins. At the time it was expected that Benning would provide the Oilers with depth for their AHL affiliate in Bakersfield, but his solid play this season has warranted him an NHL position.