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New town, new opportunity

Jordie Benn is ready to "rock and roll" with the Canadiens and be a steady presence on the back end

by Matt Cudzinowski @canadiensmtl /

MONTREAL - Jordie Benn simply can't wait for his first opportunity to sport the storied bleu-blanc-rouge.

Acquired by the Canadiens on Monday afternoon in a trade with the Dallas Stars, the 29-year-old veteran defenseman is eagerly anticipating the chance to help Claude Julien's contingent down the stretch with just 19 regular season games remaining on the calendar. 

Only minutes before departing the Lone Star State - where he'd spent the entirety of his NHL career dating back to his debut in 2011-12 - the Victoria, BC native shared his sense of excitement about what lies ahead in his brand new hockey home.

"It's just an exciting time to be a Montreal Canadien and to put on that jersey. It's a new start in an amazing city. We had a bit of a tough start in Dallas here, but to get thrown right back in the thick of things, it's kind of nice. I'm excited to do it," said Benn, who put up two goals and 15 points in 58 games with the Stars this season, while amassing 24 penalty minutes and a minus-3 differential along the way as well.

While Benn isn't all too familiar with his new teammates on a personal level, he certainly appreciates what they're capable of on the ice. Joining the likes of Shea Weber, Andrei Markov and Jeff Petry on the back end, snipers Max Pacioretty, Alex Galchenyuk and Alexander Radulov up front, and Carey Price in goal, among others, has him feeling primed to get to work and contribute in any way possible to the Canadiens' playoff push.

"I've played against them, and they're all amazing hockey players. They obviously have something special going there right now. Playing against them, you know who they are. I'm sure it's going to be a fairly easy transition. I'm just ready to jump in and rock and roll," said Benn, who was the Stars' fourth-most utilized defender during the 2016-17 campaign, averaging 18:37 of ice time per night in Big D.

The former BCHL standout, who went undrafted before signing with Dallas in July 2011, says he plans on being a steady and reliable presence on the blue line while putting his "stay-at-home" style on display every time he hits the ice.

"I skate well. I penalty kill. I'm physical when I can be. I just try and do what a stay-at-home D-man is supposed to do, and that's get the puck to the forwards and let them do the work. The forwards there are pretty good players, so if they have the puck, it's going to be a good night," said Benn, who also takes significant pride in sacrificing his body, too, leading the Stars with 113 blocked shots on the year. "No one really likes to block shots, but I can block a lot of shots and help that way."

While leaving his brother, Stars captain Jamie Benn, behind in Dallas is obviously bittersweet, the elder Benn understands that being moved at any point in time comes with the territory when you're a pro athlete. 

"I've had a few cups of coffee in Dallas, but now it's taking me to Montreal. Obviously, I have personal ties with my brother being there, but we're big boys now and we know what could happen. If it does, we go our way and play hockey," concluded Benn, who will sport No. 8 with the CH. "Hopefully I can help the team win and hopefully I can play 300 or 400 games in Montreal. I'm just a kid living a dream and obviously to play in Montreal is pretty exciting."

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