Season Grades: Jamie Benn

Let’s flashback to September when the Stars were in the midst of the preseason and training camp.  I think the prospect we were all excited to see was a kid by the name of Jamie Benn.  After leading the Kelowna Rockets to the memorial Cup final, Bennster was looking better and better and Stars fans were excited to see what he could do in Texas.  Texas, because there wasn’t much of a chance of him making it to the Big Stars.  I mean, he’d need to be seasoned up in the AHL before he hit the NHL.  As fans, we didn’t want Benn to go what we can now call, the “Niskanen route.”

Boy were we all wrong.  Benn tore it up in the preseason and made the team against all odds.  Marc Crawford at one point said, “Jamie Benn wasn’t one of the best players in preseason.  He was the best player in preseason.”  Crow was right about that one.

Benn’s first half was a tad slow, but he was making enormous progress for a rookie.  One memorable moment was watching him score his first goal in his hometown of Vancouver.  And Zac Efron was there.  Just saying.

Anyway, by the middle of the season, Tom Wandell fell victim to a torn ACL, and his center position was up for grabs.  In what had to have been his best decision this seaosn, Crawford experimented with Benn at center.  Let’s just say that it was pretty much amazing.  Bennster went off on a tear and looked damn good for a guy who’d never played center in his life.

The move to center spawned a great second half for our rookie.  After a somewhat slow first half of the seaosn, Bennster turned it up the second half.  He was a monster out there.  By the end of the year, he led all rookies in even-strength goals, which, in my opinion, is better than just any goal lead.  Most of those rookies like the sweet Matt Duchene, the charming John Tavares, and Niclas Bergfors got many of their goals on the power play.  Jamie Benn, on the other hand, finished with, like, two PP goals on the year and 22 even strength goals.  Pretty impressive, eh?

Another thing that impressed me about Benner was his ability to get a puck out of a scrum with ease.  It boggles me how he does it.  He just reaches in and saves the puck.  It’s just…wow.  That’s not to mention how great a skater he is.  When I hear the phrase, “power forward,” I now think of Jamie Benn.  He’s fast, huge, and a complete force.  I enjoyed watching him go off on a rampage and plow people down.  Honestly, Benn reminded me of Alex Ovechkin in that way.

My favorite part about the Bennster is that he came from out of nowhere to have this great rookie season.  If you can recall, Jamie Benn was a fifth round pick.  Let me say that again: a fifth round pick. We got very, very lucky in 2007 with this kid.  He’s like our version of Henrik Zetterberg or Pavel Datsyuk.  If Benn keeps this up, he wil have a great, great NHL career.

Grade: A+.  For being a complete monster.

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