Name: Jamie Benn
Birthplace: Victoria, British Columbia
Height/Weight: 6-2, 210
2021-22 stats: 18 goals, 28 assists and 46 points in 82 games
Contract: Three years remaining at a cap hit of $9.5 million. Actual salary of $6.5 million next season.
Benn has seen his offensive performance decline over the past five seasons. In 2017-18, he led the Stars in scoring at almost a point a game (79 points in 82 games), logged almost 20 minutes a night (19:49) and fired 241 shots on goal. Last season, he averaged 16:48 in time on ice, averaged 0.56 points per game (46 in 82 games played) and took 182 shots on goal. He was at 17:45 the previous season and 0.67 points per game, so this seems like a trend. Is that because his body is wearing down? Is that because the Stars have struggled with scoring as a team? Is that because Dallas has been through a series of coaching moves that have been difficult to navigate?
It’s a tough analysis to make. Benn had the same amount of hits he had five seasons ago, and he seems as physical and healthy as he was then. But has his usage made him a less effective player? If it has, where does he go from here? A new coaching staff might have a huge impact on Benn.
Video: [email protected]: Benn nets OT winner 53 seconds in
Expectations for 2022-23
It’s strange to say one of your highest paid players and team captain doesn’t have an easy fit on the team at age 33, but that might be true for new coach Pete DeBoer and his staff this season.
If you believe the top line of Jason Robertson with Roope Hintz and Joe Pavelski should stay together, and if you believe freshly signed Mason Marchment deserves a shot on the second line left wing with some combination of Tyler SeguinWyatt Johnston or Denis Gurianovthen Benn looks like a third liner to start the year.
Is Benn a center or a wing? Well, if Radek Faksa and Ty Dellandrea are better choices at center, then Benn likely will be a left wing again. If you follow that logic, he could play with some combination of Faksa, Dellandrea, Gurianov or maybe one of the other depth forwards. Can you get offense out of that group? That’s the challenge for DeBoer and company.
Video: DeBoer on Benn, Seguin: ‘They’re world-class players’
Calgary played Blake Coleman 14:49 a game and received 33 points in 81 games. Tampa Bay played Pat Maroon 12:24 and got 27 points in 81 games. Is that the future for Benn? It’s tough to say. If the Stars can find a way to juggle players and create three scoring lines, the potential for points will increase. But if Benn is a third liner for much of the year, the downward scoring trend might very well continue.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club.
Mike Heika is a Senior Staff Writer for DallasStars.com and has covered the Stars since 1994. Follow him on Twitter @MikeHeika.