Jamie Benn Isn’t the Next Mike Modano

Photo via Getty Images

Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn is arguably a generational player in the NHL.

Benn was drafted 129th overall in the fifth round by the Dallas Stars during the 2007 NHL Draft. Benn also played baseball when he was younger, so if worse came to worst in his professional hockey endeavor, he might’ve played in MLB as a left-handed hitter instead.

Don’t get me wrong, I like and respect Benn, but I don’t think he’s the next Mike Modano. Here’s why.

The Mike Modano Move to Dallas Changed Hockey in Texas
Mike Modano is a former NHL forward. Modano played most of his NHL career with the Minnesota North Stars/Dallas Stars franchise from 1988 to 2010 before spending his final NHL season with his hometown Detroit Red Wings in 2010-11. The Livonia, Michigan-born, Highland Township, Michigan-bred NHL legend was drafted first overall in the 1988 NHL Draft and subsequently became the second American to be drafted first overall in the NHL Draft after Brian Lawton in 1983.

Modano essentially helped the Dallas Stars evolve as an NHL team. Despite Texas being a football state, Modano reportedly figured out it wouldn’t be easy to plop a sheet of ice down and expect fans to understand the basics of hockey after allegedly being warned that the fans’ learning curves could be steep. The former NHL No. 1 overall pick was the arguable center of the Stars’ traction in the Dallas-Forth Worth sports scene.

Modano was inducted twice, once into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2014 and the other into the IIHF Hall of Fame in 2019. Also, Modano was named one of the 100 Greatest NHL Players in 2017. Modano announced his retirement from the NHL in 2011. Although his stint in Detroit, Michigan, ended on a sour note, his legacy and influence remain, and he’ll get enshrined in a statue from the Dirk Nowitzki statue on Victory Plaza on March 16, 2024.

Jamie Benn Probably Won’t Finish His NHL Career in Dallas
Jamie Benn is a good, if not great, captain and left wing. Benn became the Stars’ sixth captain in franchise history on September 19, 2013, and has been the team’s longest-running captain since then. However, he probably won’t finish his NHL career in Dallas, which isn’t something some Stars fans want to think about, but it’s a possibility.

Benn was drafted 129th overall in the fifth round by the Dallas Stars at the 2007 NHL Draft out of the BCHL’s Victoria Grizzlies. Benn’s ability was there, but some, if not most, of the experts, might not have known that he’d be good, if not great. The Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, native was arguably one of the biggest draft day steals of the decade.

Benn’s current eight-year, $76 million contract will expire at the end of the 2024-25 NHL season, and he’ll become an unrestricted free agent (UFA). Benn had one of his best seasons in 2022-23 with 78 points (33 goals and 45 assists) in 82 regular-season games and 11 points (three goals and eight assists) in 17 postseason games. But if Benn was so good, why has there been talk about trading him? He’s taking up a good amount of salary cap space, and the Stars can benefit by paying younger players while thinking about the future.

There’s a Difference Between Jamie Benn and Mike Modano
Depending on who you ask, Jamie Benn is a wise guy. I know for a fact that I think Benn’s a wise guy. In case you forgot, I’ve written an article, Jamie Benn is a Wise Guy, last May.

But there’s a difference between Jamie Benn and Mike Modano. Like Modano, Benn has done many great things on and off the ice. Benn, however, is just the best player — or one of the best players — on the Stars with a nonprofit organization, Benn’s Beauties, who donated countless Dallas Stars tickets to kids with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and their families in the Metroplex. Modano, on the other hand, was a No. 1 player and a de facto salesman who helped the local community while building a new fanbase in a non-traditional market.

I’m not discrediting anything Benn has done in Dallas, but Modano’s plays, statistics, and actions were unparalleled. Modano was a revolutionary NHL player.

Final Thoughts
Jamie Benn has been building an impressive career with the Dallas Stars since the 2009-10 NHL season. Benn likely won’t finish his NHL career in Dallas, but he’ll probably be a former Art Ross winner who makes the Hockey Hall of Fame. If that happens, I’ll be happy and congratulate him. However, he’s not as rare a hockey player as Mike Modano.

Ana Kieu

Ana Kieu is a journalist by trade. Her love for sports shows in her writing, editing, and podcasting work. She writes about the NHL for Inside The Rink.

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