Oilers’ James Neal ‘likely’ to return Tuesday, Benson assigned to AHL

Edmonton Oilers' James Neal (18) celebrates a goal during third period NHL action against the Los Angeles Kings, in Edmonton, Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019. (Jason Franson/CP)

Edmonton Oilers forward James Neal appears “likely” to return for Tuesday’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks after a five-game absence, according to Sportsnet’s Mark Spector.

The likelihood of Neal’s return coincides with Edmonton’s announcement on Sunday that forward Tyler Benson had been assigned to the Bakersfield Condors of the American Hockey League.

Benson was called up by the Oilers on Jan. 30, one day after Neal sustained a foot injury that has kept him out since. Neal, who has 19 goals and 29 points in 50 games, resumed skating on Thursday.

If Neal is able to return to the lineup Tuesday, he’ll join an Edmonton team stuck in a tight Western Conference playoff race. The Oilers are currently only one point out of first in the Pacific Division, but also only three points ahead of ninth place in the West.

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