- #4: Jamie Benn
Jamie Benn wasn’t expected to be the face of the Dallas Stars franchise when they selected him 129th overall at the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, but since then, his dedication and steadily improving game has put him in that position. At age 24, Benn is poised to enter the prime of his career, and with a great supporting cast now behind him, we may see a career year from the Canadian winger in 2014.
Benn’s offensive game has always been his bread and butter, but developing great defensive skill has turned him into a great utility forward. Benn is a natural puck carrier, and has no problem putting the biscuit in the right places, whether that is with a smooth deke, a quick pass, or a sniper’s shot. Parked right in front of the crease, Benn’s 6’2″ frame is tough to budge, and the loose pucks always seem to find a way on to his stick to generate chances. On the rush, Benn is a killer, with a shot that is well-placed and quick as well. Benn’s 33 points were easily the best in Dallas, despite only playing 41 games out of the 48-game schedule in 2013.
Physically, Benn has added a gritty game to his repertoire, and can play the ‘trenches’ type game that many other superstars cannot. With the Stars searching for a new captain, Benn might fit the bill, and take on a leadership role with the revamped roster in 2013-14. Benn still has a lot of years left, and if the Stars decide to honor him with the ‘C’, he could be a sore sight for the other teams in the Central Division for seasons to come.