It has been 32 days since Jamie Benn last scored a goal for the Dallas Stars.
You likely remember it. His one goal, one assist, one fight effort in 18 minutes at home against the San Jose Sharks on February 23rd was one of his more stirring performances in recent memory. He was the alpha male that night. He willed the Stars to a big 3-1 win over a division rival.
He hasn't been heard from much since. That game was followed be a string of plus/minus performances to forget: -3, -3, -2 and -1 in the next four games, and the Stars record and goals against average suffered accordingly.
After a stretch of 13 points in 10 games that showcased what the young superstar can be at his best, he's gone without a goal 12 straight games with a -8 rating, with a hand/wrist injury in there that may be hampering him still, though he's been playing.
One theory is that his shots/shot attempts just haven't been there for whatever reason.
Jame Benn Shot Attempts/Shots:
(Trying out a new interactive google chart there. If you can't see it view a picture here)
He experienced a significant drop in shot attempts for about five-game segment recently corresponding almost perfectly with the four game home stand in which Dallas went 1-2-1. They're coming back up and Stars fans would like to think the goals will return at some point as well.
He missed two contests with his hurt hand after the game in Phoenix, and that could still be bothering him as well (Update: He had the day off of practice today to rest it, so that's a good possibility).
Maybe he's just suffering from the luck dragons this year?
|Shots Per Game||Shooting %|
His shooting percentage is down significantly from what he's shown to be very normal over the course of his first four seasons (about 12.5% or so).
His low PDO of 971 suggest a little bit of bad luck this year as well. (From Behindthenet.ca, PDO is the sum of "On-Ice Shooting Percentage" and "On-Ice Save Percentage" while a player was on the ice. It regresses very heavily to the mean in the long-run: a team or player well above 1000 has generally played in good luck and should expect to drop going forward and vice-versa.)
Some could argue it's all much ado about nothing.
Jamie Benn's conversion to center was controversial to a point because of his apparent gifts as a goal-scoring winger. There were questions about his ability to "facilitate" in the middle of the ice, seeming like more of a natural scorer. He has eight assists in his last eight games and is still plugging along a "point a game" pace for the most part, proving that he can be a force on the score sheet without putting the puck in the net himself.
Or is it more fuel for the fire for those who say Jamie Benn belongs on the wing? With Derek Roy possibly moving on it's a moot point. The Stars are thin at center in that case and next season could be painfully demonstrative of that fact.
Part of it could be playing on a line with Jaromir Jagr. There's little-to-no doubt who the finisher is when Jagr is on the ice, and he's been everything we thought he'd be and more. Jamie Benn has played a big part in it as well. Benn has 11 primary assists this year and 5 of those have been Jagr goals. Jagr was involved (either a goal scorer or an assist) on four of Benn's secondary assists as well, and has assisted on two of Benn's goals.
All in all 12 of Benn's 22 points include Jagr figuring in the scoring in some way. The two are fueling each other.
Is that enough or must the Stars get more from Benn if they're to make the playoffs? The numbers says that he's still producing. The eye ball test tells most of us he's just not on that next level right now. If he and Jagr can reach it together on this home stand it could save their season.