The countdown to preseason has officially begun, and we couldn’t be more excited, but we also have to be real: the Stars were doing great last season, giving us hope of a post-season run… until it didn’t happen.
Call it over-confidence, lack of confidence, tiredness, bad attitude, lack of communication, or just “not being ready” for playoffs, but a new season – with a new coach and new additions to the roster – brings new hope. The Stars have what it takes to make it to post-season: they have it, and it’s time for them to show what they got.
Over the next days we’ll take a look at the top scorers from last season, what they’ve been up to this summer, and what the immediate future might bring for them.
And so the series begins with the #1 scorer of the team during the 2017-2018 regular season: none other than the captain himself, Jamie Benn.
Jamie Benn was drafted by the Dallas Stars in 2007, 5th round, 8th pick (129th overall) and made his NHL debut during the 2009-2010 season. He became the sixth captain in Stars’ history on September 19, 2013, and won the Art Ross Trophy in 2015 with 87 points (fun story: his final point was a secondary assist with 8.5 seconds left in the game, overtaking John Tavares for the award).
Back to more recent events, the captain finished the 2017-2018 regular season with 79 points (36 goals, 43 assists) and a plus/minus of +20, having played in all 82 games (along with Tyler Seguin, Alexander Radulov, John Klingberg, and Devin Shore). After a rough season in 2016-2017, Benn and the Stars seemed to be getting back on their feet, ending with 92 points – a notable improvement from those 79 points in 2016-2017.
But like in any other team, in any sport, you can’t expect one (1) player to carry a whole team on his back. Benn’s defensive skills improved under Ken Hitchcock’s guidance, and even during their fallout during the last month of regular season, he managed to score points to somehow keep the team afloat, with 1.4 points per game in average in 15GP, with a total of 14 goals and 7 assists. With Jim Montgomery taking over coaching duties next season, both Jamie and the fans hope he will be the one to bring out the best of the team. As mentioned above, they have what it takes to be among the first places on the board – they just need proper guidance.
There’s nothing to worry about on this: Jamie Benn is seizing the summer in all possible aways.
Through his social media (specifically Instagram) we’ve seen Benn enjoying Coachella, visiting the Dodgers, going back home for a couple of days, fishing, and spending quality time with his family. Oh, and meeting Snoop Dogg. You know, the usual.
In an interview with Mike Heika, he spoke a bit about his offseason activities, and while he has taken his time to relax, he is already preparing for preseason.
“Well, I traveled to start, but now as the season gets closer, I’m back in town and working out. I’m skating four or five times a week now. I made three trips back home (to British Columbia), but I don’t really have long trips back there anymore”.
Slightly off-topic: the most important part of that interview.
With a new coach and new players on the team, it’s going to be interesting how 1) he will lead the team and 2) how much or if his game will change and/or improve. Jamie Benn has been the most consistent player on the team and will surely continue to prove he is a top winger, no matter who he is lined with – and here’s to hoping he will stop being overshadowed by some bigger names.
And, of course, he will continue breaking sticks.
Photo: Jerome Miron for USA TODAY Sports