Can Jamie Benn win his second consecutive Art Ross Trophy?
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Victoria’s Jamie Benn has an opportunity over the next 11 games of the 2015-2016 National Hockey League season to win his second consecutive points scoring title, although at this time finishing first in the points race is a long shot. He will likely finish second with approximately 90 points and 38 to 40 goals, replicating his 2014-2015 season.
Last year Benn earned 35 goals, 52 assists for 87 points to win the league points race over second place John Tavares who earned 86 with 38 goals scored, while Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins earned 84 points in 77 games.
This season Tavares of the New York Islanders has only played in 65 games and has collected just 55 points, failing to gain any consistency during the season, while Crosby, as always is competitive, playing so far in 68 games and earning 70 points.
Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks leads the league with 89 points in 70 games, while Erik Karlsson who plays defense for the Ottawa Senators not only leads all defenseman, he leads all forwards in points save for Benn and Kane. Karlsson currently has 73 points in 71 games.
Benn played in the Peninsula Panthers system growing up in Greater Victoria. He graduated to Junior A hockey with the Victoria Salsa (now Grizzlies) in the BCJHL and ended up playing his Major Junior Hockey in the Western Hockey League for the Kelowna Rockets amassing 139 points in 107 games. Benn's current NHL career totals – since the 2009-2010 season - is up to 436 points in 497 games played. Over the past three years he has missed only one game and has led the Stars in points all three seasons.
As the NHL play-offs loom, defense often becomes tighter and goals more scarce. The Dallas Stars play the Chicago Blackhawks, San Jose Sharks, Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings and Nashville Predators within those remaining 11 games; all tough teams, so Benn will have to play at his very best and perhaps have some luck come his way to win the Art Ross Trophy.
Dallas currently sits first in the Western Conference and second overall behind the Washington Capitals, who have collects 105 points so far this season, while Dallas has 91.
Although Victoria has produced many competitive NHL players including the Courtnall Brothers (Russ and Geoff), Curt Fraser and Grant Fuhr to name a few, Benn is the first Victoria-raised player to win the Art Ross trophy for most points earned during an NHL regular season. His brother Jordie also plays for the Stars.