Dallas Stars 2013-14 Season Grades: Jamie Benn

Tom Pennington

Grade the Stars captain on his first year wearing the C.

Once again it's that time of year here on Defending Big D where we take a look at each player that suited up for 20 or more games this season (and finished the season with the team) - and take a look back at their season. What was good about it, what wasn't so good, and the lasting impression they left us as we go into summer.

Regular season statistics:

GP G A Pts PIMs +/- TOI Corsi Rel OZ starts
81 34 45 79 64 +21 19:09 +1.9% 55.5%

Playoff statistics:

GP G A Pts PIMs +/- TOI Corsi Rel OZ starts
6 4 1 5 4 +1 21:09 +10.8% 59.6%

Key Stat9th - That's where Jamie Benn ranked in overall league scoring this season, tied with Joe Pavelski and Nicklas Backstrom. He was tied for ninth in goals and 13th in assists as he and newfound best friend forever Tyler Seguin ripped through the league like a buzz saw. Seguin brought the speed and the flash while Benn's deadly accurate shot and ability to cut through defenses like they weren't even there were highlighted by his move back to wing.

The Good: Jamie Benn just keeps getting better. What can you say about what makes him good besides, well, everything? In his first year as captain and his return to the wing, Benn was a dominant force in the NHL. He's too slippery to cover, fast enough to blow by defenders, enough of a sniper to pick a corner from almost anywhere and big enough that you can't knock him down. Combine that with his physical edge, his young age, and his cap-friendly contract for the production and he's a player every general manager in the league would drool to build his team around. He set career highs in goals, assists and points (and plus/minus, but who's counting) and settled into the captain's role of leader as the season went on.

Perhaps the most exciting sign was Benn's ability to rise to the moment and responsibility, to somehow find a new level in his game every time his team needed him. When Team Canada needed a goal at the Olympics to advance to the gold-medal game, it was Benn that came through despite not having been named to the training camp roster so many months before. When the Stars needed someone to turn the tide in the playoffs, Benn jumped the faceoff and fired a laser beam.  Almost every time something was asked of him, he delivered. It was a remarkable season. And he's only 24.

The Bad: If you have to say something bad about Jamie Benn, and it's pretty hard this year, you might have to turn to the playoffs. Sure, he put up four goals and five points in six games and had absolutely ridiculous (if small sample size caveated) possession numbers. But he was held without a point in that crucial Game 6, his only pointless game of the playoffs, and he wasn't able to get Seguin on the scoresheet that often. In the regular season, he took a few too many dumb penalties (and put himself at risk for a suspension at least once with a retaliatory high hit), and he had a few stretches where he wasn't scoring at his normal pace.

Bottom Line: It's really hard to find negative things to write about Benn's season because he was a beast on the ice. Razor once said "Jamie Benn is a baby bull" back when he was first finding his NHL stride, and Benn grew into his horns this season. The captaincy, something people wondered if he could handle, energized his game as did his new linemate, and Benn did everything asked of him and more. Even so, there are still places he can improve. He can still be better. And that's probably the most frightening thought of all for the rest of the NHL.

Vote now: Rate Benn on a scale of A to F (A being the best of course) based on his performance relative to his potential and your expectations for the season.

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