Just two days after his four-point game earned him the first Art Ross Trophy in Dallas Stars franchise history, captain Jamie Benn has confirmed that he may be off the ice for a while.
The 25-year old forward will have hip surgery following the season’s culmination, per Pierre LeBrun of ESPN, and Mark Stepneski of the Dallas Stars’ Official Website went on to state that the captain won’t be expected back for around five months.
LeBrun stated that Benn played through the hip injury for most of the season — making it all the more impressive that he just managed to take the scoring title from New York Islanders captain John Tavares — but there’s been no confirmation of what, exactly, the surgery will be aiming to correct. The team shut down winger Valeri Nichushkin with hip surgery this past fall (he returned to the ice for the final few weeks of the season) and defenseman John Klingberg underwent the same procedure as Nichushkin last spring, but the team has yet to elaborate on whether Benn will be out with the same issue.
It’s not just Benn who’s going under the knife to fix hip issues, though — per Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News, forward Ales Hemsky is having hip surgery, as well. As with Benn’s operation, the team hasn’t confirmed whether Hemsky is going in for the same procedure as Nichushkin and Klingberg — the only details disclosed were that he would be out for a similar timetable to Benn. Both are estimated between four and five months before they return, putting them back in the lineup in time for September games to begin.
There’s a question of whether the Stars kept Benn and Hemsky in the lineup due to a depleted offense already; once Nichushkin left the lineup in November the team was out a top six forward, and center Tyler Seguin spent around a month on injured reserve with a sprained knee. Depth center Rich Peverley has been out since collapsing on the bench last March, so losing two more players to long-term injured reserve could have seriously hurt the team — but with no word whether the surgeries are preventative or unavoidable, there’s no telling whether having the two in the lineup was ill advised or not.
It’s still good news to hear that the team is using the off-season to take care of player health, but the Stars front office still has a ways to go before they can sit back and relax. A lackluster effort down the final stretch in net and a dismal defensive corps left the Stars watching the post-season from the outside; before they reconvene next fall, Dallas will need to address both areas of weakness.