Forward Jamie Benn was taken by the Dallas Stars with the 129th overall pick in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, but it only took him a couple years to become an everyday player at the NHL level and at the age of 24, he’s one of the team’s best players. That ability to defy the odds seems to runs in the family.
His elder brother, defenseman Jordie Benn, has endured an even harder route, but after going undrafted and starting his pro career with the ECHL Victoria Salmon Kings in 2008-09, he earned a three-year deal this summer after recording six points in 26 contests with Dallas in 2013.
“My dad said just never quit because you never know what can happen,” Jordie Benn, 26, told Stars Inside Edge. “A couple years ago I was really far away from the NHL. I knew that. I never stopped working and I am never going to stop working. I’ve always worked hard and I’ve worked hard for what I’ve got.”
Despite the Stars showing a meaningful level of trust in him, Benn’s uphill battle is far from over. His deal with the Stars doesn’t turn into a one-way contract until 2014-15, which means that it will cost the team less if he spends the some time in the minors this season.
Dallas has five defensemen signed to one-way contracts, so Benn will be competing with Brenden Dillon, Kevin Connauton, and Jamie Oleksiak for the other two or three spots. To make things harder for Benn, Dillon will almost certainly take one of those spots after firmly establishing himself with the Stars in 2013. Oleksiak will also be stiff competition. He’s a former first-round pick and highly regarded prospect who got his first taste of NHL action last season.
All the same, Benn’s goal isn’t just to make the team. He wants to find a way to crack the Stars’ top three pairings. That will be difficult, but his Dad told them, you never know.