The 2016 NHL Award Finalists were announced and the Dallas Stars are represented by Lindy Ruff and Jamie Benn.
Ruff was named a finalist for the Jack Adams Trophy, which goes to the NHL’s Coach of the Year. The finalists were voted on by the NHL Broadcasters Association. In his third season, he led the team to a 50-23-9 record for 109 points. The Stars won the Central Division and the Western Conference. Ruff helped lead the Stars to its first division title since the 2005-06 season and its first Conference title since the 2002-03 season.
Dallas hit the 50-win mark for the first time since the 2006-07 season and finished the regular season with the second best record in the NHL. The 265 goals scored by the Stars were the most in the league and the +37 goal differential was the third best. Ruff is a three time Jack Adams Award finalist and he won the award back in 2006 as the coach of the Buffalo Sabres.
Ruff did a good job of managing the goaltending situation all season for Dallas. He split the time between Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi because both were playing well and there was no clear cut number one starter. When the Stars lost Tyler Seguin to an injury, he managed to keep his team focused and got contributions from everyone up and down the lineup. Ruff wasn’t afraid to change the lineup if a player had a bad game. He got the most out of a team that could score goals, but didn’t have the best time defending against goals.
Jamie Benn is a finalist for two separate awards. He was named a finalist for the Hart Memorial Trophy, which goes to the League MVP. The Professional Hockey Writers Association members vote on the regular season MVP. The other two finalists are Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks. Benn is the first Stars player to be named a finalist for the Hart Trophy.
Benn was also named a finalist for the Ted Lindsay Award, which goes to the most outstanding player in the regular season. The award is voted on by members of the NHL Players Association. The other two finalists for the award are Braden Holtby of the Washington Capitals and Patrick Kane of the Blackhawks. This is the second season in a row that Benn has been named a finalist for the award. No Stars player has ever won the Ted Lindsay Trophy.
In 82 games played during the regular season, the foward had 41 goals, 48 assists, 89 points, five game-winning goals, and averaged 20:01 of ice time per game. His 89 points were second in the NHL behind only Patrick Kane’s 106. Benn’s 41 goals were ranked third in the league. The forward was the first Stars player to score 40 goals since Mike Modano did it in the 1993-94 season. His 1.09 points per game average was second in the NHL.
He has 17 power play goals and racked up 30 points while on the man advantage. Benn finished second in the NHL in both categories. He led the league in points last season, and won the Art Ross Trophy despite Dallas missing the playoffs. The 41 goals, 89 points, 17 power play goals and 20:01 of ice time per game were all career-highs. The forward was named the first star of the week in the NHL once and was the first star of the month in October.
The winners will be announced during the 2016 NHL Awards held on June 22, 2016 in Las Vegas.