Dallas Stars Sign Jamie Benn to Five-Year Contract Worth $5.25 Million Per Season

Ronald Martinez

The Stars reeled in their most important restricted free agent with a five-year deal signed during Thursday's game against the Chicago Blackhawks.

He's finally back.

After contract negotiations drifted into the beginning of the season, Jamie Benn has signed a five-year contract worth $5.25 million per season with the Dallas Stars.

The news broke during the Stars game Thursday against the Chicago Blackhawks, and Stars fans at the American Airlines Center greeted the news with a loud ovation.. Benn missed the Stars first four games of the season during the holdout.

Benn, a restricted free agent, has quickly become the backbone of the Stars during his three years with the team. Originally drafted in the fifth round of the 2007 entry draft, Benn jumped straight from the WHL's Kelowna Rockets to Dallas and fit in immediately. He's put up 70 goals and 160 points in 222 career games, including 27 goals and 63 points in 71 games last season.

The 6-foot-2, 200-pound Benn moved to center full time last season. He spent the lockout playing for the Hamburg Freezers in Germany, where he scored seven goals and added 13 assists in 19 games. While he hasn't been able to practice with the Stars without a contract, he has been skating with the BCHL's Victoria Royals.

Benn, 23, has the added bonus of playing with his older brother Jordie this season. With the trade of Mark Fistric, Jordie Benn, 25, has started every game for the Stars. The two played together for several games last season when Jordie Benn was an injury call-up.

UPDATED TO ADD:

Per Mark Stepneski, Benn will not be available for the Stars game Saturday against the St. Louis Blues because of immigration issues. However, he was on his way to Dallas during the Blackhawks game and is expected to be available Monday against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Below is the release from the Stars.

Dallas Stars General Manager Joe Nieuwendyk announced today that the club has agreed to terms with center Jamie Benn to a five-year, $26.25 million contract ($5.25 million per year -- the first year of the deal is pro-rated).

Benn is entering his fourth NHL season, all as a member of the Stars. Last season, the 23-year-old had a career year, setting personal bests in goals (26), assists (37) and points (63). He led the club in game-winning goals (7), multi-goal games (5) and was second in shots (203). Benn was also selected to his first NHL All-Star Game, where he took home the accuracy shooting title during the Superskills Competition.

Jamie Benn has proven in his short, but very productive NHL career, that he is not only this franchise’s cornerstone player, but also an emerging superstar in the league," said General Manager Joe Nieuwendyk. "We believe that Jamie has the necessary tools to continue his growth and lead this team into the next great era of Dallas Stars hockey.

The Victoria, B.C. native enters 2012-13 having increased his point totals in each of his first three seasons; earning 41, 56, and 63 points, respectively. Among 2007 NHL draft picks, Benn is tied for the fifth-most career goals (70), trailing only Chicago’s Patrick Kane (128), Edmonton’s Sam Gagner (77) and St. Louis’ David Perron (74), and is the only player among that group that wasn’t a top-30 pick that year (5th round, 129th overall). During Benn’s first NHL season in 2009-10, he became just the second Stars rookie to score over 20 goals and the 10th in franchise history. He also earned the distinction as the only player in Dallas Stars history to earn 100 points before the age of 23 on Oct. 15, 2011 against Columbus.

In 2010, Benn helped lead Dallas’ AHL affiliate, the Texas Stars, to the Calder Cup Finals where he registered 14 goals, 12 assists in 24 games. Those totals led Texas and were good for third-most in the entire Calder Cup Playoffs.

Prior to the start his professional career, Benn played two seasons for the Kelowna Rockets in the WHL from 2007-09. After posting a 65-point campaign (33 goals, 32 assists) in his first season with the Rockets, he followed that up with an 82-point season (46 goals, 36 assists) and was named to the WHL West First All-Star Team. During the 2009 postseason, he led Kelowna in playoff scoring with 33 points (13 goals, 20 assists) in just 19 games, leading Kelowna to the Ed Chynoweth Cup as WHL champions, and an appearance in the Memorial Cup Tournament.

The 6-foot-2, 205-pound forward also has considerable experience at the international stage. In 2009, he helped lead Team Canada to a gold medal at the World Junior Championships, earning four goals and two assists in six contests. He also represented Canada at the 2012 World Championships.

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