There's been a lot of talk about who, if anyone, the Dallas Stars would name captain for the upcoming season. Speculation has ranged from three or four players wearing A's to a veteran player like Ray Whitney to rising young stars like Jamie Benn or Brenden Dillon.
Today, on the eve of the 2013-14 season, the Stars made it official. Jamie Benn will be the next captain of the team. General manager Jim Nill made the announcement at a news conference at the team's headquarters in Frisco.
The Stars have been playing without a captain since Brenden Morrow was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins a few weeks before the 2013 trade deadline. Benn, who was named an alternate captain back in 2011 when Morrow was out with an injury, shared alternate captaincy duties with Loui Eriksson, Stephane Robidas and Ray Whitney last season.
Benn has been floated as "future captain" for the past few seasons, particularly after he signed a long-term extension with the Stars at the start of the lockout-shortened 2013 season. While not the most vocal member of the team in the media, though he has gotten notably more comfortable there over the past year or so, his physical style of play and ability to put the team on his back for stretches of play make him a natural choice for a "lead by example" captain.
After breaking into the NHL roster straight out of junior hockey, almost unheard of for a fifth-round draft pick, Benn has played four seasons in Dallas with 82 goals and 193 points in 263 games. He is entering the second year of a five-year contract that is worth an average of $5.25 million per season.
He will be the sixth player to captain the Dallas Stars, joining the likes of Derian Hatcher, Mike Modano and Morrow. Benn, who turned 24 this summer, is the second-youngest player to be named team captain in Dallas Stars history - Hatcher took over the captaincy from Neal Broten at age 22.
New Stars general manager Jim Nill knows what it's like to name a young captain. He was part of the Detroit Red Wings when they named Steve Yzerman captain at the age of 21. And as Mike Heika pointed out last night, Benn has been acting as de facto captain since the start of the offseason, participating in the Stars jersey reveal/rebranding ceremony and showing up early for training camp.
In fact, Heika had two really good articles out about Benn before the official announcement was made. Benn had one heck of a game Wednesday night against the Florida Panthers, tallying a goal in regulation and another in the shootout and generally looking dominant all across the ice. It was the perfect type of performance in his final game before officially being named captain.
In franchise history, Benn joins a group of 14 Minnesota North Stars captains (including J.P. Parise and Craig Hartsburg), six California Golden Seals captains and two Oakland Seals captains.
Dallas Stars captains
- Mark Tinordi, 1993–95
- Neal Broten, 1995
- Derian Hatcher, 1995–2003
- Mike Modano, 2003–06
- Brenden Morrow, 2006–13
- Jamie Benn 2013-
Official release is below:
DALLAS STARS APPOINT JAMIE BENN CAPTAIN OF THE DALLAS STARS
Frisco, TX — Dallas Stars General Manager Jim Nill and Head Coach Lindy Ruff announced today that left wing Jamie Benn has been appointed to serve as team captain, becoming the sixth captain in Dallas Stars history.
Benn, 24, has spent all four seasons of his career with the Stars, leading the team with 33 points (12-21=33) in 41 games during the 2012-13 campaign. This past season, he led the team in shots (110) and was tied for the team lead with three game-winning goals.
"In a very short period of time, Jamie Benn has gone from being an exciting up-and-coming player in the NHL, to being a cornerstone of the franchise," stated Nill. "He has steadily grown as a player and as a person. He conducts himself each and every day in a professional way and continually leads by example. We fully believe that he will be a driving force in getting this team to the next level – and now he’s our captain."
Benn enters the 2013-14 season just seven points shy of 200 for his career, having already registered 193 points in 263 career NHL games (82-111=193). Since his entrance into the League in 2009-10, only Loui Eriksson has compiled more points with the Stars. He has also represented the team at the 2012 NHL All-Star Game in Ottawa, winning the accuracy-shooting portion of the SuperSkills Competition.
Drafted by Dallas in the fifth-round (129th overall) of the 2007 NHL Draft, Benn ranks fifth in points amongst players from his draft class, trailing only Patrick Kane, Sam Gagner, Jakub Voracek and David Perron. He’s the only player in that group who was not drafted in the first round that year.
"I’m deeply humbled and honored to be named the captain of the Dallas Stars," stated Benn. "I look forward to representing this organization, my teammates, our fans and this great city in our pursuit to bring another Stanley Cup to Dallas."
The Victoria, British Columbia native has represented Canada on the world stage on two separate occasions, most recently at the 2012 World Championships. He also helped Canada capture the gold medal at the 2009 World Junior Championships, posting six points (4-2=6) in six games at the tournament.
In 2010, the 6-foot-2, 210-pound forward led Dallas’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Texas Stars, to the Calder Cup Final, earning 26 points in 24 games (14-12=26). His 14 goals led the entire AHL during the 2010 Calder Cup Playoffs.
Benn succeeds Brenden Morrow, who served as captain from 2006-2013, Mike Modano (2003-2006), Derian Hatcher (1995-2003), Neal Broten (1994-95) and Mark Tinordi who was captain of the club when the team transitioned from Minnesota to Dallas. He served as captain from 1991-1994.
Stephane Robidas and Ray Whitney will serve as the alternate captains for the 2013-14 season.