Benfeld sees role reversal

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:56 AM ET

In junior, Jordan Benfeld used to just shove guys out of the way.

As one of the bigger and stronger players in the Western Hockey League, the Edmonton Oilers draft pick would rely heavily on his physical attributes to get the job done.

Things are not as simple at the next level.

"I was obviously a bigger boy in junior," Benfeld said. "Now it's kind of a reverse role for me. I'm one of the average-size guys now. I just have to make sure I keep working hard every game. I can't really worry too much about that. I have to make sure I stick to my game and things are going into place."

Benfeld, a Leduc product, was selected by the Oilers in seventh round (193rd overall) of this summer's NHL Entry Draft.

DIDN'T SIGN

The six-foot-two, 222-pound defenceman was originally taken by the Phoenix Coyotes in 2006, but went back into the draft when he didn't sign a contract.

Yesterday he was in the lineup as rookie camp came to an end with a game against the ACAC All-stars in Camrose.

"He's played well enough," said Oilers assistant general manager Kevin Prendergast. "I think we have to work on his puck movement at times - he panics a little bit - but he's a young kid, he's big enough and strong enough to take care of the rest of it.

"He's one of those kids that we want to see play. So he'll go to Springfield and if it doesn't work out there, he'll go to Stockton."

Prior to joining the Oilers, Benfeld played four seasons with the Medicine Hat Tigers, helping the team capture a league title in 2007 and earn a berth into the Memorial Cup final.

The Oilers are hoping he develops into a solid stay-at-home defenceman.

"There are always things you can improve on," Benfeld said. "I just have to keep working hard, keep improving and let things fall into place."


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