Another day passes without word of an impending contract agreement between the Dallas Stars and Jamie Benn, and another day passes where fans grow increasingly frustrated with the team, the player or both. Benn remains in his hometown in Canada while awaiting a new contract with the Stars, as reports have surfaced the past few days that a deal is drawing closer with the two sides barely that far apart.
Of course, "close" is still not complete and while the Stars and Benn may have drawn closer on a potential deal there are certain issues still holding up the process. This delay, which has eaten into the start of the Stars' season, has come with the two sides attempting to fit a month's worth of negotiations into just a few weeks.
We've been saying since the lockout ended that this would be a likely scenario and that this was merely business. It's only natural for fans to attempt to take one side or the other or to attempt to assert blame; in the end, however, this is a short-term delay in order to assure the best long-term future for both the team and the player.
Mike Heika, he of the Dallas Morning News and resident calmer-downer, urges patience as the process continues to move forward.
You really can't blame either side in this. Evans wants to get the most money for his client and still maintain the ability for a higher salary if Benn becomes one of the best players in the league. That's smart.
The Stars want to get Benn in as low as possible, and also want to make sure the bar is set in the proper place for the rest of the contracts that will follow him. There are a bunch of kids who will be going through this same process in the coming years, and the Stars need to establish a Dallas market price. That's smart.
So each side is simply doing its job.
Heika also outlines the exact issues in the negotiations and where each side stands, with the Stars willing to pay more in order to lock Benn up long term yet reluctant to fork over long-term money on a short-term deal.
So then while they ponder term, the price point is going to be different on each package. You want three years, you get lower price. You want higher price, you have to go five or six years.
Be thankful that, unlike what's happening with the Avalanche and the Habs, Benn and the Stars are actually talking and seem to be finding some progress in the discussions. It's carried on longer than Benn, the Stars and certainly the fans could have wanted but, once again, both sides are willing to suffer through some short term losses in order to secure the best long-term future for both player and the team.
Be thankful, as well, that the Stars have gotten off to a 2-1 start and haven't completely fallen apart without him. It's obvious that the Stars need Benn to be playing sooner than later, but this isn't a team that is completely dependent on just one player.