This week we look at one of the best young players in all of hockey and ponder just how good he could be when he hits his prime. Jamie Benn was selected 129th overall in the 2007 NHL entry draft by the Dallas Stars, coming out of the Victoria Grizzlies system of the BCHL.
It wasn’t just the Stars organization that noticed Benn and he would soon join the prestigious Kelowna Rockets of the Western Hockey League. The Rockets NHL alumnus consists of players like Luke Schenn, Duncan Keith, Alexander Edler, Tyler Myers, Shea Weber and Sheldon Souray.
Benn wouldn’t disappoint the Stars after they selected him, putting up 33 goals and 32 assists for 67 points in the 2007-2008 season with Kelowna. In 2008-2009, Benn took his production a step further, scoring 46 goals and adding 36 assists for a career best 82 points.
After impressing in training camp, Benn made the Stars roster in 2009-2010 and finally scored his first goal of the season on October 11th. Benn’s first NHL goal came against Vancouver Canucks netminder Roberto Luongo and he would go on to play all 82 games with the Stars. Benn finished with 22 goals and 19 assists for 41 points in his rookie season.
He finished fifth in rookie scoring with 41 points, just behind Matt Duchene of the Colorado Avalanche (55 points), John Tavares of the New York Islanders (54 points), Tyler Myers of the Buffalo Sabres (48 points) and Niclas Bergfors of the Atlanta Thrasers (44 points).
Benn is improving with each year of experience, as you can see below.
09/10: 22 G, 19 A, 41 PTS
10/11: 22 G, 34 A, 56 PTS
11/12: 26 G, 37 A, 63 PTS
Benn got to play around some great veteran teammates, like Brad Richards and Mike Modano, to name a few. For a 23-year-old, he’s already 205 pounds and he’s not even finished developing physically. When you combine his outstanding skillset with his ability to play a physical game, you have a dominant player on your hands.
Benn made the switch to centre during the 2011-2012 season and moved up to the top line with Loui Eriksson and Michael Ryder. Ryder piled up 35 goals and 27 assists for 62 points, while Eriksson finished with 26 goals and 45 assists for 71 points. You can bet that playing with such a dynamic player in Benn helped out their numbers. Ryder’s 35 goals was actually a career high for him, the most he had before that was 30 (in both the 2006-2007 and 2007-2008 seasons).
The Stars effectively handed the reigns to Benn after they traded playmaker Mike Ribeiro to the Washington Capitals in exchange for young centre Cody Eakin and the 54th overall pick in the 2012 draft (Mike Winther).
If not for an appendectomy which caused Benn to miss 11 games, Benn would’ve likely finished with nearly 70 points or possibly more. Looking at the situations he was put in with Dallas, its Benn’s time to shine and he will get every opportunity to have a big year with the Stars whenever the NHL resumes its regular schedule.
|21.95%||EV||14 BENN,JAMIE - 21 ERIKSSON,LOUI - 73 RYDER,MICHAEL|
|12.51%||EV||14 BENN,JAMIE - 29 OTT,STEVE - 73 RYDER,MICHAEL|
|10.75%||EV||14 BENN,JAMIE - 21 ERIKSSON,LOUI - 29 OTT,STEVE|
|7.64%||EV||14 BENN,JAMIE - 16 BURISH,ADAM - 29 OTT,STEVE|
|5.90%||EV||14 BENN,JAMIE - 10 MORROW,BRENDEN - 29 OTT,STEVE|
|5.69%||EV||14 BENN,JAMIE - 29 OTT,STEVE - 81 VINCOUR,TOMAS|
|2.65%||PP||14 BENN,JAMIE - 21 ERIKSSON,LOUI - 73 RYDER,MICHAEL|
|2.21%||EV||14 BENN,JAMIE - 21 ERIKSSON,LOUI|
|1.81%||PP||14 BENN,JAMIE - 21 ERIKSSON,LOUI - 29 OTT,STEVE|
|1.55%||EV||14 BENN,JAMIE - 21 ERIKSSON,LOUI - 81 VINCOUR,TOMAS|
|1.35%||EV||14 BENN,JAMIE - 16 BURISH,ADAM - 23 WANDELL,TOM|
|1.18%||SH||14 BENN,JAMIE - 21 ERIKSSON,LOUI|
The only thing that can hold Benn back is his health, if he can stay out there on the ice, the numbers will come and he will continue to improve.
To quote Anaheim Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau, “I thought (Benn) was a pretty good player, but I didn’t think he was going to turn out to be the player he is,” Boudreau said. “I think he’s one of the finest young players in the league that nobody knows about. If this kid was in Toronto, they’d be making statues of him.”
Benn is eligible at centre and left wing in Yahoo leagues, ranked as the 76th overall player. ESPN has him at number 47 overall and he checks in at 12th overall in CBS formats.