Jamie Benn and the Dallas Stars couldn't quite strike a deal before the NHL's lockout, but the two sides wasted little time getting a deal done after the league and NHLPA came to a collective bargaining agreement.
According to TSN's Bob McKenzie, the Stars and their left winger have come to terms on a five-year deal that's worth $5.25 million per year:
As per that last retweet from Jamie Benn's agent, Benn has agreed to terms on a 5 year deal, believed to be worth, $5.25M per year.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) January 25, 2013
Long viewed as a potential face-of-the-franchise talent, Benn has begun realizing his otherworldly potential the past couple of seasons. He has gone over the 50-point plateau in each of the past two seasons and has improved his scoring every year with the team.
In 2011-12, Benn tied with Loui Eriksson for the second-most goals on the team with 26, and his 37 assists ranked third behind Eriksson and Mike Ribeiro.
While that's all well and good, the most impressive fact about Benn's ascent is he's still only 23 years old. Drafted by the Stars 127th overall back in 2007, Benn has been a pet project of the organization since arriving, and it is now bearing the fruits of its labor.
It's expected that Benn will take on even more responsibility this season, as Dallas tries to make the playoffs for the first time since 2007-08.
Most importantly, this deal is a mutually beneficial one. The Stars get to keep a prodigious talent like Benn at a relatively reasonable price, while also allowing the youngster to test free agency when in his true prime.
There is still some work to do if Dallas wants to contend for a Western Conference championship, but keeping Benn under contract gives the team a building block for now and in the future.