Into the off-season, after falling in the western conference finals, the Dallas Stars are inevitably looking for changes to try and get back to the Stanley Cup finals next year.
There’s not a lot that needs to change after the progressions made from 2022.
The Stars want to keep getting better as a whole. One option in Dallas might need a change in leadership.
There is an argument that the Stars might need a change of hat.
The Team’s Young Core
Miro Heiskanen, Roope Hintz, and Jason Roberson are the future (and present) of the Stars. For the team to have a stronger identity, perhaps the Stars could soon name one of these three the new Captain. Benn will be 34 by the end of the year. Somebody will inevitably be wearing the C in the future. It’s just a matter of when, and then the question becomes who.
Naming one of these younger guys a captain now during the off-season could provide the Stars a solid refresh if everybody buys in. Heiskanen and Hintz will be heading into their sixth NHL season. They’re essentially veterans by now.
This past playoff defeat to Vegas was a good measuring stick for Dallas.
As with 31 of 32 NHL teams, the goal is only to move up. Guys who performed the best need to be rewarded with more ice time and responsibilities.
During this past West final vs. the Golden Knights, Benn was arguably the weakest link in the series.
The Stars were 0-4 in this series with their Captain in the lineup. 2-0 when Benn was serving a suspension. The only stat that matters in the playoffs is the win, loss column. Something has to change from this, whether Benn’s attitude and preparation or the team leadership.
It has worked before.
In the case of the Los Angeles Kings, replacing the team captain has worked. When the Kings (after two Stanley Cups in three years) saw a decline in performance from the team as a whole and from Dustin Brown, the team made a change. Despite giving up the C on the jersey, Brown remained with the team until he retired in 2022.
The point here is that if Benn does give up the captaincy in Dallas, it doesn’t mean he has to move on. He can still be that veteran heart and soul guy while the team continues to build around its excellent young core.
They are one of the best groups of young guys in the whole NHL.