The Dallas Stars inked restricted free agent Jamie Benn to a five-year, $26.25 million contract Thursday night. Unfortunately, he might still not be available on Monday.
As a Canadian citizen, Benn needs a work visa to play for the Stars and, given that government offices aren’t opened on weekends, he still doesn’t have one, according to the Dallas Morning News.
So why didn’t Benn take care of this while he was still negotiating with the Stars? The simple answer is that he wasn’t allowed to until after he signed.
The 23-year-old forward has already missed the Stars’ opening five games and he will be unavailable for the sixth if the paperwork isn’t completed by 5:00 p.m. ET. Benn had three goals and five points in four games last season against Dallas’ upcoming opponent, the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Assuming the government work gets done today, the timing of Benn’s return would be great. Although Jaromir Jagr should return on Monday after missing time with back soreness, they might still be without Derek Roy (groin).
If Benn is available and Roy isn’t, then Benn will probably play on the top line with Jagr and Loui Eriksson. If the Stars end up with both forwards on Monday, then Stars coach Glen Gulutzan has indicated that he’ll probably balance the lines by putting Benn with Ray Whitney and Michael Ryder while Roy skates alongside Jagr and Eriksson.
Mike Weaver has retired. The 37-year-old defenseman made the announcement today via the NHLPA.
“What an enjoyable experience to do something you love for 11 years in the NHL and 15 years in professional hockey,” said Weaver in a release. “I could never have imagined this. Hockey is more than just a game to me. Thanks to the Atlanta Thrashers, Los Angeles Kings, Vancouver Canucks, St. Louis Blues, Florida Panthers and the Montreal Canadiens.
“I would also like to thank the fans who brought the energy and excitement every night to the arenas. When the game starts, your teammates are who you trust, rely on and respect the most. Thank you to all my teammates for all the memories that will last a lifetime.”
Undrafted out of Michigan State, Weaver ended up playing 633 games in the NHL, plus 28 more in the playoffs.
Dylan Larkin — despite being just 19 years old — will begin the season on the Detroit Red Wings, a team not normally accustomed to having teenagers in the lineup.
Coach Jeff Blashill confirmed the news this morning. Larkin could apparently start on a line with Henrik Zetterberg and Justin Abdelkader.
Larkin, the 15th overall pick in the 2014 draft, had three goals and one assist in five preseason games. A natural center, he’s shown the potential to one day step into the kind of “big-time” role that Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk have played for so long in Detroit.
“You have to give our scouts credit,” former coach Mike Babcock told ESPN in May. “We got a great pick where we picked. How high end is he? How soon?”
Related: Coaching change ‘one of the reasons’ Larkin signed with Wings