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Stars lock up key piece with signing of Jamie Benn

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

The Dallas Stars didn’t win on the ice Thursday night, but they scored big off it. The Stars finally agreed to terms with center Jamie Benn on a five-year, $26.25 million contract and locked up a key piece of their core.

“It’s really big,” said Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk. “We know how important he is to our hockey club. I think everybody in this building knows how important this is. At the end of the day, it is the right thing. It’s good for our franchise, it’s great for Jamie to be back in that locker room with his teammates, and tomorrow he will be.”

Benn, who has been skating with the Victoria Royals of the Western Hockey League, is expected to join the Stars on Friday. He is not expected to play Saturday against St. Louis at American Airlines Center. The Stars are hoping he’ll be ready to play Monday in Columbus. It’s a paper work thing.

“He’s on his way here tonight, so he is in the country,” said Nieuwendyk. “It’s a matter of immigration and getting a work visa and things like that. We’re hopeful that Monday night in Columbus he should be available.”

It was a long negotiation process with Benn and his agent Rich Evans. There were indications that the talks were at an impasse earlier on Thursday, but several hours later the two sides had a deal.

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