The Dallas Stars have acquired three players this summer with Stanley Cup rings. It’s not a coincidence that those rings have a bejeweled Chicago Blackhawks logo on them, because GM Jim Nill has made it no secret that the team with three Cups in six years is one that deserves to be emulated.
“They’re the modern day Detroit Red Wings,” said Nill, who came from that winning front office in Detroit to take over the Stars three years ago. “They’ve done a great job of drafting, great job of developing, they’ve managed their system well. They’ve made the right trades at the right times. I have noting but respect for Stan Bowman and the job they’ve done. It’s not easy to win, and it’s not easy to stay on top a few years in a row.”
Speaking on the Marek Vs. Wyshynski podcast on Wednesday, Nill said the building blocks for the Stars to become a team on the Blackhawks’ level are there. The two biggest pieces of that foundation are center Tyler Seguin and winger Jamie Benn, whom Nill compared to Blackhawks stars Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane without flinching
“We’re not there, but we think we’re on pace with where our players are at,” said Nill. “Benn and Seguin remind me of Toews and Kane when they were 22, 23, 24 years of age. And I think we’re trying to get there. We’re close, I think.”
When this comment went viral on Wednesday, there were some calls of “blasphemy!” from hockey fans, particularly those in the Windy City.
So are Seguin and Benn on track to become the next Toews and Kane?
Here’s a look at what all four players did between their first game in the NHL up to age 25. Keep in mind that Kane (26 years old) entered the league at 18, Toews (27) at 19, Benn (25) at 20 and Seguin (23) at 18.
Points Per Game
All the stats are from War On Ice, as you can read here.
Benn missed 24 games between 2010-12, for what it’s worth. Seguin’s stats include those from his Boston Bruins days, when the system and his usage were much different that what he’s seen in Dallas.
Nill’s point is essentially correct: These are two young cornerstone players who are going to drive the bus for the Stars in the next decade. Seguin has the same offensive explosiveness as Kane – and, let’s face it, the rest of the pedigree – and Benn is the stoic young captain who has Olympic and World Junior gold on his bio.
Of course, Toews and Kane are Toews and Kane because of what they’ve done in the postseason. And that’s the real test for Nill: If he thinks he has Toews and Kane, now he needs to find his Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Marian Hossa.
The good news is that he already has his Patrick Sharp …
What do you think? Are Benn and Seguin the new Toews and Kane?
Here's the full interview with Nill from our podcast: