Frozen Pool Forensics: Is Jamie Benn Primed for a Strong Second Half?

by Cam Robinson on December 30, 2016

What to expect from Jamie Benn in the second half.

The NHL schedule is a mighty grind. Sure, it’s not the 162-contest calendar that Major League Baseball rolls out, but the wear and tear on the body pales in comparison to what hockey players endure. Throw in the condensed schedule due to the World Cup of Hockey this summer and it’s not unreasonable to believe that many guys were just holding on until the holiday break and some much-needed rest and relaxation.

 

This week on Frozen Pool Forensics, we’re looking at a player who should be rejuvenated and ready to burst out of the break and thrust your fantasy team in right direction for 2017.

 

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Few players have been as locked in as Jamie Benn over the previous three seasons. 79, 87 and 89 points have been the last three full season totals for the Olympic gold medalist – good for a 1.04 point-per-game output. Those 255 points are second only to Sidney Crosby’s 273 and sit a full 16 points ahead of Patrick Kane.

 

Top 10 Point Categories – Oct. 2013 – Apr. 2016

Rank

Name

Pos

Age

Yrs

Team

GR

GP

EV

PP

SH

Pts/G

TOI

PTS/60

Points

1

CROSBY,SIDNEY

C

29

9

PIT

45

237

179

94

0

1.15

20:49

3.3

273

2

BENN,JAMIE

L

27

5

DAL

46

245

170

72

13

1.04

19:43

3.2

255

3

KANE,PATRICK

R

28

7

CHI

45

212

155

84

0

1.13

19:59

3.4

239

4

SEGUIN,TYLER

C

24

4

DAL

46

223

154

80

0

1.05

19:27

3.2

234

5

OVECHKIN,ALEXANDER

L

31

9

WSH

49

238

132

97

1

0.97

20:23

2.8

230

6

GIROUX,CLAUDE

R

28

7

PHI

45

241

122

102

2

0.94

20:30

2.7

226

7

BACKSTROM,NICKLAS

C

29

7

WSH

49

239

117

107

1

0.94

19:51

2.8

225

8

PAVELSKI,JOE

C

32

8

S.J

47

245

135

88

2

0.92

19:55

2.8

225

9

THORNTON,JOE

C

37

16

S.J

47

241

151

71

1

0.93

18:34

3.0

224

10

TAVARES,JOHN

C

26

5

NYI

48

219

145

77

1

1.02

20:35

3.0

223

 

 

Numbers such as these are tangible, unimpeachable evidence to select the Dallas Stars’ captain at the very top of your fantasy drafts. Heading into this season, he was widely viewed as an assured top-five forward in straight points-leagues and potentially even higher in those who consider positional requirements.

 

All this is to say, his 30 points in 36 games hasn’t been up to snuff.

 

 

SEASON

GP

G

A

P

PntPG

+/-

PIM

Shots

SH%

HITS

PPG

PPP

SHG

BLKS

FOW

FO%

PPTOI

%PP

%SH

TOI/G

%TOI

2016-2017

36

10

20

30

0.83

-7

33

81

12.3

54

6

11

0

21

152

54.9

03:31

59.8

30.7

20:13

33.4

2015-2016

82

41

48

89

1.09

7

64

247

16.6

156

17

30

2

55

226

47.3

03:12

62.2

31.6

20:01

33.0

2014-2015

82

35

52

87

1.06

1

64

253

13.8

120

10

23

2

50

298

51.7

03:34

60.8

28.5

19:57

32.9

2013-2014

81

34

45

79

0.98

21

64

279

12.2

118

5

19

1

60

411

52.8

03:40

60.2

14.7

19:09

31.5

2012-2013

41

12

21

33

0.80

-12

40

110

10.9

71

3

10

0

32

327

46.1

03:19

56.3

7.5

19:55

32.9

Average

82

34

47

81

0.99

3

67

247

13.6

132

10

24

1

56

360

50.2

03:28

60.2

23.2

19:47

32.6

 

 

 

Looking at the wider scope, Benn has missed out on off-season training the last two summers due to rehabbing some major injuries – he had both his hips surgically repaired after the 2014-15 campaign and then surgery on a ‘major core muscle’ after last season. The latter of which held him out of the World Cup of hockey and is a likely cause to point a finger at for his sluggish start.

 

 

Here’s where all that turkey and eggnog are going to come into play.

 

 

While four days off doesn’t sound like a lengthy vacation, for a player who has likely been playing catch-up since October, the time off was surely a welcomed sight.

 

 

 

Injuries haven’t been the only thing holding Benn and the Stars down this season. First and foremost, they continue to receive inadequate goaltending. When you’re playing behind in games, you take more chances and inevitably give up more goals against.

 

Dallas has received the fourth worst goaltending this year with a team save percentage that sits at just .901. This can help explain Benn’s minus-seven rating thus far.

 

The Stars have also suffered from a host of slumps from their core group. Jason Spezza, once considered a virtual lock for 60 points, is finally showing some life after starting with just 11 points in his first 20 games. Burgeoning super-stud defenseman, John Klingberg is having a touch of the less-familiar ‘third-year-flu’. Patrick Sharp has been all but a ghost, suffering from post-concussion symptoms, and the loss of Mattias Janmark for six months cannot be overstated.

 

All that said, the wheels are starting to be lubed up and the production is starting to trickle in. At the writing of this article, Benn had racked up nine points in his last nine games while just three of those have come on the slowly improving Dallas’ power play. Maintaining that even-strength production is so crucial when attempting to predict results.

 

Advanced Stats

Year

PDO

5 on 5 SH%

Off. Zone Start %

PTS/60

IPP

2016-17

999

5.96

43.13

2.5

52.6

2015-16

984

8.91

54.25

3.3

57.1

2014-15

1011

10.58

54.07

3.2

57.1

2013-14

1035

11.36

56.78

3.1

56.1

2012-13

983

9.15

57.07

2.4

52.7

2011-12

1016

10.15

47.34

2.9

60.0

2010-11

1016

10.12

58.94

2.7

80.5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking at his last seven seasons, we can see that the Victoria, B.C. native is seeing far fewer offensive zone start times than previous campaigns and his five-on-five shooting percentage is at a career-low. Couple that with his personal conversion rate being slightly below career average and you can see that the production is likely to see some positive regression as time moves along.

 

It doesn’t hurt that he continues to play over 80 percent of his even-strength shifts and all his power play time next to Tyler Seguin.

 

Even Strength Lin Combinations

Freq

Line Combination

51.9%

BENN,JAMIE – EAVES,PATRICK – SEGUIN,TYLER

18.8%

BENN,JAMIE – SEGUIN,TYLER – SPEZZA,JASON

13.2%

BENN,JAMIE – EAKIN,CODY – SEGUIN,TYLER

11.7%

BENN,JAMIE – FAKSA,RADEK – KORPIKOSKI,LAURI

4.4%

BENN,JAMIE – EAVES,PATRICK – FAKSA,RADEK

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Conclusions

 

In the last three seasons, Benn has come out of the holiday break and produced: 39 points in 39 games in 2013-14, 44 points in 44 games in 2014-15, and 40 points in 42 games in 2015-16.

 

He has consistently proven to be a thoroughbred in the fantasy world and despite the tepid start to his current campaign, still sits among the top-20 point producers – four points out of the top 10 and just seven away from the top five. Would anyone be surprised to see him put up a point-per-game pace or better through the back 45 games and finish up in the 75-point range?

With a refreshing break to build off; a rock-solid history of production, captaining a team that appears to be in a dog fight for a wild card spot and displaying metrics that should continue to positively regress, Benn shows all the signs of a premier fantasy option in the back half of the season.

 

It’s not like we haven’t seen him do it before.

 

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Thanks for reading and feel free to follow me on Twitter @CrazyJoeDavola3 where I often give unsolicited fantasy advice that I’m sure at least someone is listening to.