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Jamie Benn signs eight-year extension with Stars

Contract for Dallas captain worth $76 million through 2024-25 NHL season

by Steve Hunt / Correspondent

DALLAS -- Jamie Benn signed an eight-year, $76 million contract extension with the Dallas Stars on Friday.

It runs through the 2024-25 NHL season at an average annual value of $9.5 million. Benn, the Stars captain, has one year remaining on his current contract at a salary of $5.75 million.

"The Stars are the only organization I know and Dallas is home to me," the 26-year-old left wing told the Stars website. "In working with the Gaglardi family (ownership) and Jim Nill (general manager), they have made it clear that they are dedicated to winning, and winning the right way. I'm happy to commit to that process for eight more years. My teammates and I value the passion and dedication that we receive from Stars fans and we're looking forward to getting this season started."

Nill made the announcement during a fan event at Klyde Warren Park in downtown Dallas. Benn was scheduled to appear but was unable to after having surgery Thursday in Philadelphia on a core muscle injury he sustained during offseason workouts.

"When you're building a franchise, there's certain players that are important to the franchise, and he's as good as anybody there is," Nill said. "He's one of the top players in the NHL, one of the top forwards. He's in the prime of his career, he's the leader of our team, and he's a great person on top of it, so we're very fortunate here in Dallas."

Nill said he considered it a credit to Benn, agent Rich Evans and the Stars that the entire process from the start of negotiations to reaching a deal took two weeks. After last season, each side mentioned its desire to come to an agreement rather than have Benn play as a possible unrestricted free agent.

"Negotiations went very well," Nill said. "In the end, Jamie wants to be here. We want him here. He wanted to make sure it was a winning franchise while he's here. We talked about the game plan, he bought into it, and it worked out very well for all parties."

Video: NHL Tonight crew on Benn's contract extension

Benn's average annual value is tied with Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins for fourth-highest in the NHL, according to General Fanager. It trails Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks ($10.5 million), Jonathan Toews of the Blackhawks ($10.5M), Anze Kopitar of the Los Angeles Kings ($10M) and Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals ($9.538M).

Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos, also 26, signed an eight-year contract reportedly worth $68 million ($8.5M per season) on June 29.

Benn was second in the NHL last season with 89 points and third with 41 goals, finished third in voting for the Hart Trophy as League MVP, and played 82 games for a second straight season.

Dallas won the Central Division and was the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. Benn had 15 points in 13 Stanley Cup Playoff games before the Stars were eliminated by the St. Louis Blues in a seven-game second-round series.

Nill said the Stars will re-evaluate Benn's injury on Sept. 1. His availability for Team Canada in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, which begins Sept. 17, is uncertain.

"Well, you always want your players to play at the highest level, and it's an honor for them to be there," Nill said. "His goal is still to play in that World Cup. We're going to look at his rehab, see what's going [on] in six weeks, make a determination around Sept. 1 where he's at and make a decision whether he should go there or not."

A fifth-round pick (No. 129) by Dallas in the 2007 NHL Draft, Benn has 192 goals and 448 points in 508 games in seven seasons with the Stars.

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