Updates on Jamie Benn, Sidney Crosby and more in this morning’s collection of NHL headlines. 

Surgery sidelines Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn for up to six weeks.

Surgery sidelines Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn for up to six weeks.

 DALLAS MORNING NEWS:Stars captain Jamie Benn was re-signed to an eight-year, $76 million contract extension worth an annual average salary of $9.5 million. The new contract begins in 2017-18. 
SPECTOR’S NOTE:  Not surprising Benn got that much or that the Stars wasted little time re-signing him to an extension. Both sides obviously wanted to avoid questions about his contract status hanging over the club next season.
While full details (as of this writing) haven’t been revealed as to the salary breakdown, Benn left some money on the table with this deal. He could’ve pushed for the same salary as Chicago’s Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane ($10.5 million annually), and had he hit the open market he probably would’ve receive at least that much, if not more.


Considering Benn’s status as one of the NHL’s top stars (two-time First Team All-Star in 2014 and 2016, 2015 Art Ross Trophy winner, 2016 finalist for the Hart Memorial Trophy), he’s giving the Stars a bit of a hometown discount. 
Benn also underwent surgery on Thursday in Philadelphia to address a core-muscle injury. His recovery time is six weeks, which puts him on schedule to open the 2016-17 NHL season. However, his participation in this September’s World Cup of Hockey could be in question.


SPECTOR’S NOTE: Benn’s been a significant contributor for Canada during his participation in international tournaments. His absence would be a considerable loss for Team Canada. 


ESPN.COM:  Speaking of the World Cup of Hockey, the tournament is the focus of Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, who spent Friday enjoying his day with the Stanley Cup in his hometown of Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia. Crosby, 28, has an impressive international resume, including “a world junior championship (2005), two Olympic gold medals (2010 and 2014) and a world championship (2015).”



STLTODAY.COM:  The St. Louis Blues avoided salary arbitration with left wing Jaden Schwartz, inking him to a five-year, $26.75 million contract. The annual average salary is $5.35 million.


SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s roughly around what I thought he’d get ($5.5 million was my estimate). Re-signing Schwartz was the stated top priority of Blues GM Doug Armstrong. The 24-year-old winger is part of their young core and has a very bright future. An ankle injury limited him to only 22 points in 33 regular-season games, but he also had 14 points in 20 games in the 2016 playoffs. In 2013-14, he tallied 56 points, and in 2014-15 reached 63 points. He’s a proven, skilled offensive producer for the Blues. As long as he can avoid further serious injury, he should remain among their key scoring forwards. 


NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: The Rangers avoided arbitration with defenseman Dylan McIlrath, re-signing him to a one-year, $800K contract. They also signed unrestricted free agent forward Josh Jooris to a one-year deal. Salary terms weren’t disclosed.


THE WASHINGTON POST:  Capitals winger Marcus Johansson could be poised to become the first player since 2006 to go through the salary-arbitration process twice. Last year, he was awarded a one-year contract via an arbiter.


TSN: The Ottawa Senators re-signed forward Matt Puempel to a one-year, two-way deal worth $900K at the NHL level. 


TORONTO STAR:  The Maple Leafs re-signed goaltender Garret Sparks to a one-year, two-way contract. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.