The Edmonton Oilers will be without the services of Matt Benning until after the all-star break, the club’s head coach said Friday.

Benning, who has been out of the lineup since Dec. 1 with his second concussion this season, will be out until at least the Oilers Jan. 29 matchup against the Calgary Flames.

The decision to hold out Benning is the best move long-term for not only the player and his long-term health but that of the team, too.

While many continue to pile onto the 25-year-old rearguard, as OilersNation’s Jason Gregor noted earlier today, he is an integral part of the Oilers blueline this year and into the future. Having Benning at 100% after the all-star break is going to allow other Oilers defenders to play a few less minutes a night, hopefully giving them some more life as the club pushes for the playoffs.

This upcoming month is crucial for Edmonton with many conference matchups that will likely help to determine their place in the playoffs.

On Twitter: @zjlaing