Jamie Benn has firmly entrenched himself among the NHL's elite with his play on the ice the past several seasons. And in the 2017-18 season, and to the surprise of no one, he will join other elite players in the size of his contract.
The Dallas Stars announced today a contract extension for their offensive catalyst and Captain that carries an average annual value of $9.5 million. He is now under contract with the team through the 2024-2025 season.
That sound you may have heard after the news broke is the sound of Vancouver Canucks fan's crying into their Molson's and timbits now that the prodigal British Columbia son will not be hitting the free agency market. It really is no surprise that Benn re-signed in Dallas. The team has a clear vision, is entering their window, and under the guidance of Jim Nill and company and an owner not afraid to spend money in Tom Gaglardi, the Stars now have the lofty goal of being perennial Stanley Cup contenders. With a restocked prospect pool and some savvy cap management, the Stars appear primed for deep playoff runs through the prime of Benn's career.
That doesn't even touch on intangible benefits of staying in Texas, such as a lack of state taxes, cost of living, and the lack of media attention that puts players in a fish bowl as some other markets have.
Benn's play has been phenomenal the last few seasons, and both Nill and Benn were eager to get the contract extension completed prior to the start of the season. After seeing the media speculation that dogged Steven Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning in his final season before signing a contract extension, both Benn and Nill stated this summer that a contract extension was a priority and felt it wouldn't be an issue to come to terms.
Benn's cap hit of $9.5 million compares favorably to other elite UFA forward signings. Compared to some of the largest contracts among forwards in the NHL, Benn ranks 5th among elite forwards today.
So there you have it folks. Jamie Benn will be here to terrorize the Central Division for the foreseeable future.