Benn, Seguin developing chemistry on and off ice
DALLAS -- Almost from the moment the Dallas Stars acquired Tyler Seguin in a July 4 trade with the Boston Bruins, many wondered how quickly he and Jamie Benn, a 2012 all-star who was recently named the new Dallas captain, would jell as members of the Stars' top line.
The acquisition of Seguin gives the ex-Bruin a fresh start under new Stars coach Lindy Ruff, hired in June after Dallas went 22-22-4 last season under Glen Gulutzan, who was relieved of his duties in mid-May after the Stars missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs for a fifth straight season.
Coming to Dallas also allows Seguin, 21, to return to his more natural position of center after playing wing for his entire time in Boston. And with Seguin moving to center, Benn, who had played center for the past three seasons with the Stars, shifts to his natural spot at left wing.
So, with two-thirds of his top line already determined, Ruff needed a third player to effectively complement the skills of both Benn and Seguin. He decided on Erik Cole, whom the Stars acquired from the Montreal Canadiens in a February trade that sent Michael Ryder back to his former team.
Cole brings a veteran presence and poise to this talented and youthful duo, and like all of his Dallas teammates, he is intrigued by the sheer possibilities of what Benn and Seguin could achieve this season.
"They both have really big egos and sometimes they really bump heads. It's painful to listen to them bicker back and forth on the bench," Cole joked. "But other than that, they've been pretty good."
Ruff also likes what he has seen from Benn and Seguin during preseason, and the veteran coach forecasts a very high ceiling for them going forward.
"They like playing together. There's great communication. I think first and foremost that's the biggest hurdle: two guys communicating," Ruff said. "On ice, they're looking for each other a lot of the time."
One reason Benn and Seguin have been able to build solid on-ice synergy in a short time is because the two young Stars live close to one another and spend a lot of time together off the ice, and that off-ice chemistry has definitely carried over onto the ice.
"We've been growing a pretty good relationship," Benn said. "We didn't know each other until this year. We've been hanging out quite a bit off the ice. Obviously, we live in the same building. I think the more chemistry we build off the ice, it's just going to transfer to on the ice. We've had a pretty good training camp here."
Seguin has only faced Benn once in a game, in a 4-2 win by Dallas over the Bruins on Dec. 31, 2011, and even though he and his new linemate have only been skating together for several months, they have already developed some nice chemistry.
"I think we've gained some chemistry already. I think it's just about finding what each other likes and learning what each other's game is," Seguin said. "Over time, I think we'll build more chemistry together but so far in preseason and training camp, I thought we've worked out pretty well. Obviously, with Cole on our line also, he's a hard worker out there and brings a little bit of older, veteran experience to us, so we've been clicking."
But in what might be the surest sign of how close Seguin and Benn have become, theirs is a relationship complete with plenty of joking around, usually at the other's expense.
In fact, when Seguin was asked if there has been anything about Benn's game that has surprised him thus far, he replied that No. 14 was a bit faster than he had originally realized. Benn, however, took the question as an opportunity to land a little friendly jab on Seguin.
"He's a little skinnier than I thought. Not really," Benn said. "We've all seen quite a bit of him the last three years here in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He's such a dynamic skater. He's got great hands, good vision for the ice. Not much has surprised me out there."
Author: Steve Hunt | NHL.com Correspondent