Carolina Hurricanes: The case for acquiring Jamie Benn

RALEIGH, NC - APRIL 01: Dallas Stars Left Wing Jamie Benn (14) chases down Carolina Hurricanes Center Jordan Staal (11) in a game between the Dallas Stars and the Carolina Hurricanes on April 1, 2017 at the PNC Arena in Raleigh, NC. (Photo by Greg Thompson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
RALEIGH, NC - APRIL 01: Dallas Stars Left Wing Jamie Benn (14) chases down Carolina Hurricanes Center Jordan Staal (11) in a game between the Dallas Stars and the Carolina Hurricanes on April 1, 2017 at the PNC Arena in Raleigh, NC. (Photo by Greg Thompson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

One of the most bizarre stories of the NHL season so far was last week’s outburst from Dallas Stars CEO Jim Lites, calling out star players Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin for their play. Could one of these elite forwards be acquired by the Carolina Hurricanes?

Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin are both elite forwards in today’s NHL. They score the majority of the goals for the Dallas Stars, are the faces of the franchise, and are both signed to long-term contracts. In looking at which player the Carolina Hurricanes should pursue, we immediately excluded Tyler Seguin from consideration – not because of his Boston Bruins roots, but due to his youth and production. Seguin is three years younger than Benn, and has five more points than Benn over the last two-and-a-half seasons.

Jamie Benn would be the more affordable acquisition for Don Waddell to chase, and he also has qualities that this Carolina Hurricanes team needs.

Why are we even talking about this?

Last week the CEO of the Dallas Stars, Jim Lites, decided that the best way to improve the fortunes of the team was to not only publicly lay into his team’s two best players, but to do so in a very hostile and unbecoming manner in a conversation with The Athletic’s Sean Shapiro:

"“They are [expletive] [expletive], I don’t know how else to put it. These guys are not good enough. They’re not good enough for me, they’re not good enough for the owner, and they’re certainly not good enough for the general manager [Jim Nill], who I can’t speak for, but it’s not good enough for the job he’s done. But we’ve had meeting after meeting after meeting. The accountability on the ice is not there.”"

Imagine being the target of a character assassination like that. Well, Jamie Benn did not take kindly to it:

"“I don’t play for him. I play for every player in this room, the coaching staff. I come to the rink and, like I said, I am proud to be a Dallas Star and I am proud to go out and battle with these guys in games.”"

Elliotte Friedman stated in yesterday’s “31 Thoughts” article that while the Stars hierarchy are doing their best to smooth the situation, there is something to the team’s frustration with Seguin,but particularly Benn:

"That said, there’s something…off…between Benn and the Stars, a rumbling that they haven’t been happy with his play for the last season-and-a-half."

So with this in mind, could Jamie Benn be acquired from the Dallas Stars?

What would Jamie Benn bring to the Carolina Hurricanes?

Let’s start with the obvious – Jamie Benn scores goals. He sets them up. He is a four-time 30 goal scorer, and has 271 goals and 357 assists in 708 career games. He plays slightly below a point-per-game pace, and while he scores in bunches and is prone to the occasional cold streak, his effort levels are generally much higher than those of his team mates. He won the 2014/15 Art Ross Trophy by leading the league in scoring, and has been a reliable game-breaker for the Stars throughout his career.

Jamie Benn serves as the captain of the Dallas Stars, after being appointed in 2013. He sits second only to Mike Modano in all-time scoring for the Stars; his 42 game-winning goals put him third all-time for the Stars, just one away from tying Brenden Morrow for second, and his play on the PK has him second in both SHG and SHP. Essentially, Jamie Benn is the second-best forward the Dallas Stars have ever had.

It shouldn’t be underestimated just how far the acquisition of a player with Jamie Benn’s credentials would go with our fans. Carolina Hurricanes fans are desperate to see a sign from the front office that the team is going to improve, and that there is a long-term plan for the team. Acquiring a player of Jamie Benn’s stature would be one guaranteed way to make such a statement.

What would he cost?

To acquire a player of Jamie Benn’s caliber, even with the Stars apparently unimpressed with his play, will cost a pretty penny. The solution is to give them something of everything – quality roster players, prospects and picks that won’t harm the future of our team, but would help the Dallas Stars. A package along the lines of this should tempt the Stars into considering a deal:

The Carolina Hurricanes add the scoring they so desperately need, and avoid an Expansion Draft nightmare on defense by moving Justin Faulk, who would help the Stars immeasurably on the back end and who surely wouldn’t have had Dallas on his 15-team No-Trade list. Janne Kuokkanen could play in Dallas now if he moved to the wing, while the protected 2019 1st means the Stars would get a very good prospect. Victor Rask makes the financials better, but also gives him a fresh start – he could do very well in a middle six role playing with the likes of Brett Ritchie and Devin Shore.

The trade may also allow the Stars to explore options for a John Klingberg trade, who could bring them further pieces back. For a team that have missed the playoffs in eight of the last ten seasons, making two big moves like this could be the catalyst needed.

The criticism of the Stars is that their team simply doesn’t score outside of the Benn-Seguin-Radulov line – moving Benn, adding Faulk on defense and putting both Rask and Kuokkanen in the lineup would kickstart their team, and make it more balanced. It would also put pressure on Seguin to step up, presumably with him being made captain in the wake of Benn’s departure.

More from Cardiac Cane

Now, the kicker here is that Jamie Benn holds a full No-Movement Clause. The Canes could easily handle his remaining six years and $9.5m AAV, particularly as two of his three most expensive years have $8m signing bonuses that have already been paid. Could the Carolina Hurricanes convince him to waive his NMC?

Benn would immediately become a top-line forward for the Carolina Hurricanes. He would take Justin Faulk’s ‘A’ and become part of the team’s leadership group. He would be an integral part of the team for years to come, and would not have to worry about management, CEOs or owners dumping on him – that’s not what the Carolina Hurricanes are about. This is the perfect environment for Jamie Benn to excel in – but any conversation would have to be very, very convincing.

It’s worth considering that Jamie played with his brother Jordie Benn for five seasons in Dallas – the same brother Jordie who is a pending UFA this summer. Could the Carolina Hurricanes tempt Jamie Benn into waiving his NMC by making a totally-against-the-rules promise that the team would sign his brother to a long-term deal to match his own term? Jordie is a 31-year-old stay-at-home left-shot defenseman, who could play on the bottom pairing with Roland McKeown, who I would propose calling up to the third pair with Dougie Hamilton moving up to the second pairing. Having a veteran mentor like Jordie Benn would be an excellent situation for McKeown, and would give us a solid, no-frills third pairing.

How would the team line up?

Assuming the Stars saw the value of that trade, here is how I would see the Canes lining up in 2019/20:

Jamie Benn-Aho-Teravainen




Slavin-Pesce / de Haan-Hamilton / Jordie Benn-McKeown

Doesn’t that look more exciting than this year’s team? I would make Jordan Staal captain, and have Benn and Jaccob Slavin serve as assistants.

dark. Next. Should the Canes be buyers or sellers?

The whole episode has had fans all around the NHL putting together trade proposals – likely all in vain, as the chances of the Stars trading either of their two stars are highly unlikely. That being said, the package we’ve proposed would help the Stars both now and in the future, and could be considered a win-win by all involved. Stranger things have happened, right?