As a hardcore fan of a sunbelt hockey franchise, you become accustomed to a certain unrefined resistance to its existence from those basically everywhere North of Columbus. Even after what will be 20 years of Dallas Stars hockey in the league, the "There's hockey in Texas?" joke is still making the rounds. But, to deny the status of Jamie Benn as one of the premier players in this league is something more ludicrous than even that.
Jamie Who? He's good? Herp? Derp?
63 points on a second line is what it comes down to for the 2011-2012 season. A season that saw Ribeiro in the first line center spot for a majority of the campaign, simply because that was the only way he would produce. Production that Benn still eclipsed as he took the team scoring title at the end of the season despite Ribeiro's best efforts on a line with the team's best players.
It's true to an extent that 63 points isn't exactly blowing the league out of the water. That total put him at 44th in the league and while that does put him ahead of players like Vrbata, Nash, Alfredsson, Perry, Cole and Pavelski - it is a bit short of something you would call super-star status. But when put in context of the season, it remains pretty impressive. If you add in the fact that he's brutal along the boards, punches people into pieces and looks like Gaston then well... what's to argue?
It is common knowledge that Benn is likely to be a Dallas Star by the start of the season at the very latest. Despite joining players like Del Zotto in New York as a small group of talented young players who have been holding out for a CBA ratification to sign, it is believed that Jamie benn is going to be a Star regardless of what it ends up taking for Joe Neiuwendyk to get it done.
As reported for several months, it is a matter of length. As a fan I am yelling (mostly inside of my head) SIGN HIM TO HOWEVER LONG HE WANTS! The unbias critic inside me is whispering a calm and collected, "Make the deal smart, take your time."
Who is right? I guess that's the question that will be determined in the next week or two. There really isn't any other question worth asking. Not "Jamie Who?" not "There's hockey in Texas?" not "Can my team get him?" only "When and for how long?