Could the Toronto Maple Leafs go after Jamie Benn and sign the restricted free-agent right out from underneath the Dallas Stars? That’s the rumor reported on HockeyBuzz.com courtesy of Eklund as of a few days ago.
Eklund doesn’t site his exact source where he heard the rumor from, but states that he’s heard the rumblings from two different sources. He goes as far as to say that the belief is that the Leafs are more interested in Benn than they are in Vancouver Canucks goaltender, Roberto Luongo.
Benn, 23-years old, had a breakout year last season with the Dallas Stars, scoring 26 goals and adding 37 assists for 63 points while playing in 71 games. He’s a restricted free-agent meaning if the Maple Leafs are serious about signing him to an offer sheet, Dallas would have seven days to match the offer or lose Benn to Toronto. Of course the Stars would receive multiple draft picks as compensation and you have to wonder if the Maple Leaf brass didn’t learn their lesson when they traded for Phil Kessel and subsequently gave Boston two years of draft picks. Those picks turned out to be Tyler Seguin and Dougie Hamilton and Brian Burke is no longer around.
Eklund doesn’t state if the Leafs would sign Benn to an offer sheet or try and trade for the British Columiba native once the Stars sign him. The logical choice between the two would be to try and steal him through the offer sheet process, but either way it’ll cost the Leafs a tremendous amount of prospects.
Benn is currently negotiating a new contract with Dallas Stars GM, Joe Nieuwendyk and according to Elliotte Friedman of CBC Sports, the two sides are still far apart when it comes to the financials. Friedman uses Jeff Skinner‘s new deal with the Carolina Hurricanes as an example of what Benn is after for a new contract.
It sounds like a long shot, but given the desperate measures the Leafs seem to be in to put a winning produce on the ice, anything is possible.
The rumor hasn’t picked up much speed in the last few days, making it highly unlikely it’ll happen. Should we hear differently, we’ll keep you posted with up to date information right here at Too Many Men on the Site.