Jamie Benn has arguably been the Dallas Stars’ most consistent player for the past six seasons. In every facet of the game Benn could be counted on to come up with a big hit, fight, assist, or goal to change the entire complexion of a period or game. This testament to his leadership and importance to the franchise was summed up when Sidney Crosby in 2014 said that he would pick Benn as the player to build a franchise around. It’s safe to say that Jamie Benn has been brilliant, and in 2017-18 he was... at times.
Benn would suit up for all 82 games in 2017-18, the fourth time in his career that he has played every game, and a sign that his body is keeping up with his heavy style of game. Benn would also rebound statistically from 2016-17, recording a stat line of 36 goals, 43 assists, for a team leading 79 points, a ten point increase from last season.
The impressive part of Benn’s goal scoring in 2017-18 was the fact that 26 of his goals came at even strength, and 7 goals were of the game winning variety. These two stats clearly illustrate Benn’s ability to impact a hockey game from beginning to end, in any situation.
Going beyond his offensive stats, Benn was very much improved in the defensive end of the ice this season. Benn recorded a plus/minus of +20, a dramatic improvement over the -9 from a season ago. Benn also saw an improvement in his shooting percentage, recording 14.9 S%, the second highest percentage of his career and two points better than 2016-17. Benn also seemed to buy in to the new checking, responsibility-oriented system implemented by coach Ken Hitchcock this year. Through 82 games Benn recorded 140 hits compared to 89 last year, 62 blocked shots, and 63 takeaways, showing that he took the defensive part of the game seriously throughout the year.
Through all the improvement in the game of Jamie Benn in 2018, life for the Dallas captain wasn’t always easy.
In late February and early March, Benn would find himself mired in a 12 game goalless streak, a tough stretch for the usually consistent power forward. Aside from the goal scoring drought, it seemed that Benn stopped going into the hard areas of the ice, protecting himself from the abuse that he absorbs on a nightly basis.
It was a stark contrast to the player who drives to the net, battles in the corner, and uses his body to overpower opponents. However, the stretch wasn’t devastating for Benn or for the Stars as the club went 7-4-1 in the 12 games that Benn was goalless.
In fact, Benn would snap the drought in a huge OT win over the St.Louis Blues, and start a stretch of peak productivity as the world crashed around the Stars.
Stars fans, hockey writers, and the franchise understand the epic collapse that saw the Stars fall out of the playoffs for the eighth time in ten years. There is plenty of blame to go around, but none of it should fall at the feet of the Dallas captain. From March 9th to the end of the season, Benn filled the stat sheet as the games became more important for the Stars. His stat line over that time is 15GP, 14 goals, 7 assists, 21 points; for an impressive 1.4 points per game average. Benn would also score in multiple games three times, two of those occurring during the losing streak, and would record two road hat tricks in one week.
At the end of the day, the 2017-18 season for Jamie Benn will be remembered as a statistical improvement or return to the norm for the captain. However, the stats will not tell the whole story for Benn, as he battled through tough droughts and presided over the epic collapse in March. All eyes will be on Benn in 2018-19 to see how he leads the team forward and if his style of game will mesh with his third coach in three years. Only time will tell.
So, Stars fans, how would y’all grade Benn’s 2017-2018 season?
Grading Jamie Benn’s 2017-18 season
This poll is closed
A- Incredible campaign for Benn, exceeded all expectations.
B- Performed up to expectations
C- Not a bad campaign, but needs to improve next year
D- Terrible, the big contract looks worse each year