Tha Sports Junkies 101

Benn’s Absence affects Canada

Tha Sports Junkies 101-Sports News Annie Devine/via


Yesterday, it was announced that Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn would not be able to participate with Team Canada in the upcoming World Cup of Hockey due to him needing surgery on a core muscle.

He was replaced on the roster by San Jose Sharks forward Logan Couture. While Couture is no slouch, Benn’s absence will affect Canada.

Since the 2013-14 NHL season, Benn has developed into one of the top scoring players in the entire league. Part of that has been because of the chemistry he has found with linemate Tyler Seguin, who is also on the Team Canada roster for the World Cup.

He and Seguin have combined for 217 goals and 489 points in the last three seasons.

In fact, since the Stars acquired Seguin in the summer of 2013, Benn’s goal and point totals have increased each season.

This past season was Benn’s best, so far. The 27-year-old tallied a career high 41 goals and 89 points while helping Dallas get to one win away from the Western Conference Final. He also finished second in the league in scoring. The year prior, he won the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL’s top scorer.

Even though Canada has plenty of scoring punch, Benn will still be missed since he has shown he can contribute at the international level. At the 2014 Winter Olympics, he finished the tournament playing on the second line with Anaheim Ducks forwards Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry.

When that line was together, there were times where they would spend almost an entire shift in the offensive zone, cycling the puck and creating chances. Benn scored two goals at that tournament, including the game-winner against the United States in the semifinal.

His size is another attribute that will be missed.

At 6’2″, 210 lbs, Benn was one of the bigger forwards on the Canadian roster. With the Stars, he uses his big frame well to screen the goalie and create havoc in front while his team is on the power-play. One would’ve expected him to have the same role on either of Canada’s power-play units.

While Canada does have other big forwards, most aren’t accustomed to being the man in front of the net while on the power-play so it could have an effect when they have a man-advantage.

Benn is also a versatile player. While his normal position is left wing, he can also play center when needed or when the regular center gets tossed during a face-off.

The British Columbia native can also play on the penalty kill, while still being an offensive threat. In seven years in the NHL, he has tallied 10 shorthanded goals.

Before yesterday’s news, I was predicting Canada coach Mike Babcock would have put Benn and Seguin on the top line with center Sidney Crosby. I would expect Steven Stamkos to now be on that top line.

Should Canada fail to win the World Cup, losing Benn may not be the exact reason why it happens or the first one you think of. However, his absence probably does change some of Babcock’s plans and that could affect their outcome in the tournament.