When Brenden Morrow was traded late last season, the Stars lost a long-time fan favourite, a dedicated player, and the only man to sport the ‘C’ for the last seven seasons. It was tough to see him go, but this upcoming season is all about new beginnings, and one major stone unturned is the one that names the new Dallas Stars captain.
Over the next few weeks, I will be posting articles regarding potential captains and what they may have to offer a young Dallas squad; one looking for leadership in the most important, and cosmetic, form.
Before I start, I should describe the criteria that outlines a good captain.
- Motivating your teammates
- Standing up for your teammates
- Leading your teammates in a professional, classy manner.
Jamie Benn had a decent last season, scoring a respectable 33 points in 41 games played. Nothing too spectacular, but still a good number. Captains don’t always need to be scorers, but it sure helps. And with the potential that Benn has, his offensive abilities should only continue to improve.
There were times last season when Benn wasn’t as visible as he was the previous season. Sure, he would show up on the score sheet, but his physicality went somewhat unnoticed in my eyes. Should he be named captain, I would imagine that his presence on the ice become that which it is capable of. He has the potential to be one of the best forwards in the league, and his size certainly helps that.
This does not mean that he simply backed away from any good old-fashioned fight, demonstrated here when he fought San Jose Sharks captain Joe Thornton. Fights motivate a team to wake themselves up and to start playing harder, and it is clear that, when necessary, Benn will rise up to the occasion to bring his teammates head’s out of the dumps. The Stars won that game thanks to Benn, who completed the Gordie Howe hat-trick.
He does try to motivate his team. You can see that often in his play. During the Dallas vs. Chicago game on April 15th, 2013, Jamie Benn worked incredibly hard to beat a phenomenal Blackhawks squad. After being down two goals, a bit after the midway mark of the 2nd period, Benn scored to bring the Stars within one. Early in the third, he did it again. If you were watching that game as I was, you would really understand how his play was a direct reflection of how he wanted his team to play. It was not enough to take home the win, but the effort certainly did not go unnoticed.
As far as experience goes, Benn may be young but he has been an assistant captain for the Stars, and has not done anything to tarnish that title. He has not played in the playoffs, but he has played alongside Jaromir Jagr, and will continue to skate with Ray Whitney, both of whom undoubtedly brought a priceless array of knowledge to the young Benn.
Quite frankly, very few Stars members have playoff experience. Benn has none, but is definitely overdue, and his point production does not relfect that of a young kid. He does not make very many mistakes, so while experience is necessary, experience doesn’t have to come from your number of playoff appearances.
One name that immediately comes to mind in that regard would be Tyler Seguin, who has played in the past three Stanley Cup Playoffs. However, he has not played with the Stars long enough to be considered for the position, in my opinion, though his experience could definitely earn him an ‘A’.
It all comes down to leadership. Can Benn be a Modano-esque captain, who fights night after night to come out with a win? Can he pick up his teammates when they are down, and boost morale inside and outside of the locker room? Can he lead the team to the playoffs after a five-season drought?
This will ultimately remain to be seen. However, one thing is for certain; Benn is sticking around, and after his Olympic Camp snub, you can look for him to be working harder then ever with a very promising Stars club. Captain or not.
Who do you think the Stars will name their new Captain? Let me know in the comment section, or tweet me @JLKirlik.