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Jamie Benn named to NHL First All-Star Team

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

For the second time in the past three years, Stars captain Jamie Benn was voted to the NHL First All-Star Team as the league handed out its postseason awards in Las Vegas Wednesday night.

Benn, who became the first player in Stars franchise history to be named a first team NHL All-Star in 2014, has now received postseason All-Star honors three straight years.

Benn registered 89 points (41 goals, 48) assists in 82 games this past season, setting new career highs in both goals and points. He ranked second in the league in points and third in goals.

The Dallas captain was voted in as a left wing on this year’s All-Star team and was joined by Pittsburgh center Sidney Crosby, Chicago right wing Patrick Kane, defensemen Drew Doughty of Los Angeles and Erik Karlsson of Ottawa, and Washington goaltender Braden Holtby.

Wednesday night’s award ceremony capped off an eventful few days in Las Vegas for Benn and his family.

“It’s been a great experience,” said Benn, who was voted to the NHL’s Second All-Star Team in 2015. “We’ve been down here a couple of days with my family and my girlfriend. We’re just taking it all in. It’s a little more calm after being here last year, and it’s been a lot of fun.”

Benn finished third in the voting for the Hart Trophy, which goes to the NHL’s MVP and was won by Kane. Benn was also a finalist for the Ted Lindsay Award, which goes to the league’s outstanding player as voted by the NHLPA. Kane won that award as well.

Stars GM Jim Nill and coach Lindy Ruff were finalists for awards and soaked up the experience in Las Vegas, too.

“They’ve done a great job here,” Nill said. “It’s been first class. It’s been a neat environment to be around all the players, other team management and coaches at the hotel. It’s been a great atmosphere.”

Nill finished third in the voting for GM of the Year, which went to Pittsburgh’s Jim Rutherford. Ruff finished third in the voting for the Jack Adams Award, which goes to the league’s top coach and was won by Washington’s Barry Trotz.

With the Stars featured prominently in Wednesday night’s awards ceremony, the three Dallas finalists said it is a sign the team has made some big strides in the past three years.

“I think we’ve come a long way,” said Benn. “I think the last three years have been steps in the right direction.”

“I think that is the biggest thing,” said Ruff. “It would be pretty cool to see one or two bring home the hardware, but when it comes to team success it starts at the top with Jim, and it’s a trickle-down effect. We’ve all benefited from his leadership.”

“It says a lot about our organization,” said Nill. “We’ve got one of the elite players in the game. We’ve got one of the elite coaches in the game, he’s been around a long time, and he’s getting recognition for that. I think it is great for our organization. It shows we are on the right path and we just have to continue along that same path.”

Awards notes

*Stars defenseman John Klingberg finished sixth in the voting for the Norris Trophy, which goes to the NHL’s top defenseman. Los Angeles’ Drew Doughty won the Norris.

*Stars forward Tyler Seguin finished seventh in the voting for the Lady Byng Trophy, which goes to the “player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.” Los Angeles’ Anze Kopitar won the award.

Benn talks Las Vegas expansion

The NHL announced Wednesday that it will expand to Las Vegas for the 2017-18 season. Stars captain Jamie Benn said he is onboard with the move.

“I think it is going to be very exciting. This is a great city to have a hockey team in, there’s a lot of energy, and I am excited to play here,” Benn said. “We have a [preseason] game here in October against the Kings, so it is going to be exciting to be a part of that.”

This story was not subject to the 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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