Will B.C.'s Zach Benson keep on with the Buffalo Sabres full-time as an 18-year-old?

Chilliwack’s Zach Benson, the No. 13 choose in final summer time’s draft, was absent with good cause for the Wenatchee Wild’s go to to the Vancouver Giants on Sunday.

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Chilliwack’s Zach Benson missed an opportunity to play a WHL sport only a quick jaunt down the freeway from his dwelling however he had a great excuse.

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The Wenatchee Wild went with out Benson, 18, for Sunday’s go to to the Langley Occasions Centre to face the Vancouver Giants as a result of he’s nonetheless with the Buffalo Sabres. Vancouver gained the competition 6-2, led by two objectives every from Kyren Gronick and Tyler Thorpe.

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Benson, in truth, has been so good thus far with the Sabres that he is probably not again with Wenatchee any time quickly. There are solutions that the small, expert winger will begin the NHL common season with Buffalo and get an opportunity to stay there all season.

For instance, Mike Harrington’s column in The Buffalo Information on Monday had the headline: Zach Benson deserves his spot, however how do Sabres reply different camp questions? 

Benson, who’s a Chilliwack Minor Hockey Affiliation alum and performed spring hockey on powerhouse Vancouver Vipers’ groups that included the likes of Connor Bedard, was the No. 13 choose on this summer time’s NHL Draft. That’s two alternatives after the Vancouver Canucks took Swedish defenceman Tom Willander, who’s beginning his freshman season with Boston College. 

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Benson had 36 objectives and 98 factors in 60 regular-season video games final season with the Winnipeg Ice, the crew that was offered and relocated to Wenatchee, Wash., within the low season. 

The Sabres have been enjoying Benson on a line with Tage Thompson and Jeff Skinner, who have been Buffalo’s high two scorers final season. Benson has two objectives and 4 factors in 4 exhibition video games to date.

Harrington wrote Monday: “At 5-foot-10 and 170 kilos, Benson has to take care of the bodily play of the NHL however the 18-year-old has confirmed to be slippery within the offensive zone. He has a eager hockey IQ to hunt out open areas and is consistently attending to these spots forward of the defence.”

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The Sabres start the common season on Oct. 12, internet hosting the New York Rangers. Assuming Benson’s nonetheless there on opening night time, he can play in 9 regular-season video games earlier than the primary yr of his three-year, entry stage contract is absolutely activated. The Sabres can nonetheless ship him again to Wenatchee after his tenth sport, however his contract stays in play. 

Giants followers would possibly recall the Tampa Bay Lightning sending a 19-year-old James Wright again to the junior membership after 48 NHL video games in 2009-10.

The Sabres have two extra pre-season alternatives for Benson to point out his skills, with a Wednesday matchup in opposition to the Columbus Blue Jackets after which a Friday sport in opposition to the Pittsburgh Penguins. 

Benson instructed reporters not too long ago: “Your dream and aim is to play within the NHL. I do know my job proper now could be simply to maintain pushing, maintain enjoying my greatest. That’s sort of my factor, simply maintain getting higher.”

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The Giants, in the meantime, are nonetheless awaiting phrase on a doable return by ahead Samuel Honzek, who’s within the camp of the Calgary Flames, the crew that took him three spots after Benson at No. 16 this summer time.

Calgary had three pre-season video games left as of Monday morning: Monday versus the Winnipeg Jets, Wednesday vs. the Edmonton Oilers and Friday in opposition to the Canucks.

The Giants are on the Portland Winterhawks on Saturday, after which don’t play once more till the Swift Present Broncos come to the LEC on Oct. 13. 

“We’re hoping it’s fairly quickly. Hopefully by subsequent week someday,” Giants coach Manny Viveiros stated when requested about getting Honzek again.

Vancouver (2-1-0-0) was sharper shifting the puck and performed extra linked — to borrow a Viveiros’ phrase — than they did in a 5-1 street loss to the Kamloops Blazers on Friday.

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Wenatchee (1-3-1-0) was within the midst of its third sport in as many nights, and have been lacking centres Matthew Savoie (Buffalo, 2022 first-rounder); and Conor Geekie (Arizona, 2022 first-rounder) to NHL camps, together with Benson.

“We obtained quite a lot of contributions on offence. We performed the fitting method. That’s the best way we are able to play each night time. On Friday, we didn’t do this,” stated Vancouver centre Jaden Lipinski. 

Honzek, 18, would assist in numerous aspects. He performed in all conditions final yr for the Giants. He’s a possible set off man on the ability play. He wins battles for pucks alongside the boards and within the nook, utilizing his 6-foot-4, 195 pound body to his benefit.

He had 23 objectives and 56 factors in 43 regular-season video games a season in the past for the Giants. Whereas enjoying for Slovakia on the World Juniors, he had the again of his leg stepped on by an opponent and wound up lacking 20 video games for Vancouver.

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“Hopefully we don’t see him as a result of he’s enjoying for the Flames. If we do get him, we’ll be excited,” stated Lipinski, a fourth-round choose of Calgary this summer time who was simply reassigned to the Giants in time for the Kamloops’ sport. 

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