Well, this certainly makes Jamie Benn’s Art Ross victory more impressive — on Monday, the Stars announced that Benn has been playing with a hip injury, one that will require surgery and sideline him for the next 4-5 months.
As a result, Benn won’t play for Team Canada at the upcoming World Championships.
It’s unclear when Benn suffered the injury, but the timeline doesn’t seem to matter much — he appeared in all 82 games this year while averaging 19:57 TOI and, down the stretch, broke the 21-minute plateau in seven of Dallas’ final 13 games.
That late run also saw Benn pile up 13 points over his final five games, catapaulting him ahead of the Islanders’ John Tavares for his first-ever scoring title.
While the surgery and recovery time are significant, the timetable suggest he should be ready to go when the Stars open training camp in mid-September.
In other injury news, forward Ales Hemsky will also undergo offseason hip surgery following what was a disappointing first season in Dallas. The veteran Czech winger scored just 11 goals and 32 points in 76 games, finishing a lowly ninth on the team in scoring.
Benn, Pavelec, and Stone are NHL’s three stars of the week
Benn led all players with five goals and 10 points to capture his first career Art Ross Trophy and power the Stars (41-31-10, 92 points) to three consecutive victories.
Pavelec did not allow any goals over three starts, stopping all 83 shots he faced while posting a 2-0-1 record to lead the Jets (43-26-13, 99 points) to their second playoff berth in franchise history.
Stone ranked second with four goals (4-1-5) to lift the Senators (43-26-13, 99 points) to three straight wins and their 15th playoff berth in franchise history, capping a dramatic 23-4-4 run to end the season.
Much like playoff berths, the Art Ross Trophy came down to the last minute. Actually, it was the last second, as Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn barely won it on a Saturday.
The 25-year-old generated a four-point night to hit 87, edging John Tavares’ 86 and Sidney Crosby’s 84. Benn came into the night tied with Tavares at 83, so it was a brisk final chase.
Benn’s third point on Saturday was a pretty fluky empty-net goal:
Tavares would have taken the scoring title in a tie since he had the goals tie-breaker, so Benn made sure that happened by assisting on a Cody Eakin with just nine seconds remaining against the Nashville Predators:
Benn needed a ridiculous finish to jump up the points leaderboard, and he did it. He scored a ridiculous 10 points in a three-game span, and it’s almost as impressive when you go back further (including 16 points in seven contests). Really, Benn has been on fire since the middle of January.
Barely edging Tavares in such dramatic fashion makes this photo from the 2014 Olympics that much more fun to deploy:
Tavares can one-up Benn in future conversations since his New York Islanders made the playoffs this season, but his Stars counterpart takes home the hardware.
Update: The NHL released details on the other award winners based on regular season results (rather than any form of voting). Along with confirming Benn as the Art Ross Trophy winner and Alex Ovechkin as the Maurice Richard champ – he smoked everyone else with 53 goals – it turns out that the William Jennings will be split between goalies Carey Price and Corey Crawford.
Some more details in that regard from the NHL:
The Blackhawks and Canadiens finished the regular season tied with a League-low 189 goals allowed, and Crawford and Price saw the most action for their respective teams. This marks the first time that goaltenders on two teams claimed the Jennings Trophy since 2002-03, when New Jersey’s Martin Brodeur and Philadelphia’s Roman Cechmanek and Robert Esche captured Jennings honors after the Devils and Flyers tied for the League’s lowest goals-against total.