It’s been a rough week for Dallas Stars fans with the early end to the season, and the heartbreaking exit interviews from the locker clean out day earlier this week. So, instead of dwelling on the not-so-bright present, let’s turn on the time machine and take a trip back to April 11, 2015 - the day Jamie Benn won the Art Ross Trophy.
The Art Ross Trophy is awarded to the player with the most points scored during the regular season. In the last ten years, only two seasons have yielded Art Ross winners with under 100 points - Jamie Benn with 87 points in 2014-2015 and Martin St. Louis with 60 points in the 2012-2013 lockout season. Despite eight years of Art Ross winners with 100-plus points, 87 points for Benn is nothing to sniff at, especially in a season when Dallas finished sixth in the Central Division, had a record of 41-31-10, and missed the playoffs. While the Stars as a whole missed out on the postseason, the one bright spot was Benn scoring not one, not two, not three, but four points in the final game of the season to clinch the Art Ross Trophy.
At the start of the home game against the Nashville Predators, Benn was one point behind Sidney Crosby and John Tavares for the trophy. While Marshawn Lynch might have started the use of “beast mode” for sports, Benn wrote the definition of it that night on April 11, 2015. Not only did Benn record four points in the final game that season, he had recorded 10 points in the last three games of the season and multiple points per game in the last five of six matches that year. Benn was the dark horse in the scoring race with the odds stacked against him.
Here’s where Benn notching four points in 60 minutes becomes legendary. Entering the game, Benn was one point behind Crosby and Tavares. Benn scored two points in the first period and took the lead of the scoring race as a result. Crosby was held to no points in the Pittsburgh Penguins’ final game of the season, which finished early on during the Stars game, and as a result, he fell to third in the points race. Tavares scored two points in the final New York Islanders game to tie with Benn in points.
However, Tavares had the tiebreaker - a higher number of goals scored than Benn. This meant that Benn would need to score two points in the final period of the game to win the Art Ross. Ready for the best part? Not only did he score two points, but the last one was via an assist on Trevor Daley’s goal with only 10 seconds left in the game. That breathtaking goal can be relived in all its glory at 2:23 in the video below.
After watching that recap, the only question is - beast mode? The answer is definitely beast mode.
In addition to having his name added to a trophy that has the likes of Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux on it, Benn also posted a personal career-best with 35 goals, 52 assists, for a total of 87 points. In the three seasons since, Benn has only recorded more goals once (41 in 2015-2016), and more points once (89 in 2015-2016). He has yet to equal or pass his assists record from the 2014-2015 season.
While the Art Ross Trophy rewards individual excellence, Benn was not one to forget his teammates, as he cited the help of linemate Tyler Seguin specifically in reaching the scoring title.
“He’s a big part of the success that I’ve had,” Benn said. “Obviously we have great chemistry out there. He’s a heck of a hockey player. I’ve got to tip my hat to him too. He’s been a big part of this process.”
The dynamic duo of Benn and Seguin has been a force to reckon with for opposing teams well before Benn’s Art Ross success in 2015 and well after. With Seguin’s career-high of 40 goals and 79 points this season (only one point behind Benn), fans can only hope that the dynamic duo will help add more Dallas names to the Art Ross Trophy in the seasons to come.
This season, as Dallas celebrated 25 years of hockey in Texas, the organization put together a series of defining moments in Stars history. No Stars history would be complete without recognition for the incredible performance Benn gave in 2014-2015 that earned the first Art Ross Trophy by any player on the Stars roster. See below for just under two minutes of nostalgia, pride, and love for the current captain of the team.
While the offseason appears to loom long and large on the horizon after a less-than-appealing finish to the season, there is still hope for Stars fans. With the time off this summer, the team will come into the preseason this fall rested and ready to battle for the top of the Central Division. With a powerful trio at the top line with Benn, Seguin, and Alexander Radulov, and a confident team behind them, there’s no telling just what they can achieve as a whole and individually next season.