Everyone loves awards and getting rewarded for their hard work. There are always people out there that will shrug off the attention like they don’t care or don’t want the recognition, but just know; They always want the reward.
It is easy to accept an award and live off the momentum of the moment, but what happens when that award winner doesn’t return to that level or even sinks below just normal standards?
Since Dallas Stars Captain Jamie Benn won the NHL’s Art Ross Trophy in 2015, he has only matched or increased his regular-season point total one time, and that was in 2016. Ever since Benn signed his absolutely massive $76 million contract extension, including an average annual salary of $9.5 million, Benn has not come close to matching the numbers from his Art Ross season. Obviously, the game is more about results than stats, but it is hard to ignore the significant drop in production from the guy wearing the C in Big D, even more so for 4 straight seasons. Moral support and being a bash bro is great, but that doesn’t exactly make his salary more efficient for the Stars organization.
Jamie Benn is the second-highest-paid player on the roster this season, only beat out by Tyler Seguin. Based on that stat alone, and not even considering the salary number, Benn should be putting more pucks in the back of the net and giving his teammates better looks to do so as well. In 2018, Dallas Stars CEO Jim Lites made some harsh comments to both Seguin and Benn about their current play, saying that “they pay both players to be their best players our team, and they are consistently out efforted and outperformed by everybody else’s best players. It’s pissed me off”. Lites wasn’t exactly wrong, but should have he made the comments? Arguable on both sides, but yes.
Benn has 5 years left on his current contract but is already a step slower speed-wise than when he signed the extension in 2016. His annual goal and assist totals have been steadily decreasing since that season too, except for a slight jump in 2018.
There is an argument to be made that Jamie Benn doesn’t have to be racking up the numbers he was in previous seasons due to having more help on the roster and that his focus is no longer goals and assists, but being the voice on the ice, bench and in the locker room for his fellow Stars teammates and being more of a physical, scrappy forward on the left wing is his new role, but that is not what he is being paid to do. You don’t pay someone almost $10 million a year to hit and frustrate other players. You pay for stats and production.
Benn is undoubtedly a fan favorite on and off the ice in the Dallas Metroplex. Just listen to the crowd when he is announced at home games for your proof. There are things that are expected out of him that he is simply not living up to standards on, with goal-scoring being the defining stat line, especially in crunch time.
For now, #14 is here to stay, but as the year’s progress and his buyout gets smaller, don’t be too surprised if he finds his way out of Dallas for the Stars due to his lack of production.
Jamie Benn is a cornerstone for the Stars, but business is business on both sides.
Featured Image: Dallas Morning News