Jamie Benn’s frame might fool some people. At 6-foot-2, 210 pounds, he looks every bit the prototypical power forward, but, as the Calgary Flames found out Monday, Benn can use his hands just as well as his size to make some magic and light the lamp.
In the second period of a scoreless game Monday, Benn found a soft spot in the Flames’ defensive zone coverage and took a pass from Valeri Nichushkin. With only Kris Russell to beat, it looked like Benn was going to waste no time in getting a shot off, but he instead waited for Russell to hit the ice to block any potential shot. Benn used a flick of his wrists to pull the puck around the downed Russell before getting in one-on-one with goaltender Karri Ramo. One more quick move, and Benn tucked a slick backhand under Ramo’s glove:
Benn’s marker gave him 28 on the season and put him just seven goals back of his career-high 35 that he scored during his Art Ross Trophy-winning 2014-15 campaign. If he keeps up this pace, Benn stands to smash his previous career bests with a 46-goal, 95-point campaign.
One big part of Benn’s uptick in scoring this season is that he’s finding the back of the net more often on the power play that he ever has in his career. His beauty against the Flames came at even-strength, but Benn has 12 power play goals already this season, two more than his 2014-15 total, and is on pace to notch 20 goals with the extra man. Add that to his scoring down a man — he has two shorthanded goals — and you get a picture of the type of franchise player Benn has become.
Should Benn continue his scoring pace and end the year with 95 points, he would be the first Dallas Star to eclipse the 90-point plateau since Brad Richards in 2009-10, and Benn would also pass Mike Modano for the most points in a single season by a member of the Stars. Benn has a long way to go to surpass the franchise record, though. In 1981-82, Bobby Smith scored 114 points for the Minnesota North Stars.