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GM Jim Nill talks Jordie Benn trade to Montreal

New Stars defenseman Greg Pateryn looking for fresh start in Dallas

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

The Dallas Stars made another deal before Wednesday's NHL trade deadline, but it didn't involve one of their pending unrestricted free agents. The Stars sent defenseman Jordie Benn to Montreal for defenseman Greg Pateryn and a fourth-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft.

Stars GM Jim Nill said the deal fell in place quickly after Montreal called him Monday morning.

"Montreal has been watching us very closely and called this morning to propose some situations, some different deals. This was one of them," Nill said. "There's a lot that goes into this between trades and expansion."

The expansion draft was a factor in the deal. Nill said there was concern that they could lose Benn in this June's expansion draft when Las Vegas selects one player from each NHL team. So, the Stars made a deal now and got a player and draft pick in return.

"With expansion coming up we have to make some decisions," Nill said. "We just felt it was a deal that would help us going down the road with expansion and everything else. And we got a return on it, which was important."

The 26-year-old Pateryn, who is 6-3, 221 pounds, and a right-handed shot, has played 24 games for Montreal this season and missed almost two months with ankle injury. He's played 82 games over the past four seasons. Pateryn, a Michigan native, is under contract through next season at a cap hit of $800,000.

"He went to the University of Michigan, so he's a player I've seen coming up," Nill said. "He's a big, heavy body. He's a right-shot, which came into play. He's more of a defender than an offensive guy. He'll come in and get his opportunity, and we'll see where it goes."

Pateryn, who has been a scratch in six of the past eleven games with the Canadiens, is looking for a fresh start with the Stars.  

"It's huge for me," Pateryn said. "It's a great opportunity. I think it is going to be exciting to start somewhere fresh. I am going to come in, work hard and see what happens."

The newest Star, who will wear No. 29, said he's not that familiar with the Stars as a guy who has spent his first few NHL seasons in the Eastern Conference.

"I really don't know much, to be honest," he said. "Played them a couple of times throughout the years with the Canadiens. There are going to be a lot of new faces, but that is something I am really looking forward to."

The draft pick was a key part of the deal as well. The Stars now have nine picks in this summer's draft. That gives the Stars some more assets they can use in other deals or, if they use them all in the draft, a better chance of landing a few good prospects for down the road.

As for Benn, he played 302 games over six seasons with the Stars, recording 71 points (eleven goals, 60 assists). The Stars signed Benn to a three-year, $3.3 million contract extension in June, so he is under contract through 2018-19.

"Jordie has been a great player for us and has done a great job for us," Nill said. "I wanted to make sure he was going to a team that has a chance to win the Stanley Cup. I think it is a good situation for him to have a chance to win the Cup."

This is the second trade the Stars, who are nine points out of a playoff spot with 20 games remaining, have made over the past four days. Nill dealt forward Patrick Eaves to Anaheim for a conditional second-round pick on Friday. The trade deadline is Wednesday, and more deals could be on the horizon.

"When you have a bad season, there's just got to be some change, that's the way it is," Nill said. "That's part of the game."

This story was not subject to approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.

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