NHL Free Agency 2012: Will Dallas Stars' Jamie Benn Get a Long-Term Deal?

Mitchell Klemp@@MeestaMitchContributor IIJuly 5, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 10:  Jamie Benn #14 of the Dallas Stars and Loui Eriksson #21 talk before a faceoff against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center on December 10, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

Jamie Benn will most likely wait for the new collective bargaining agreement to go into effect before he signs a contract. The best part about that is it ensures that he will get a deal that both the Dallas Stars and Benn can be happy with long term.

The biggest factor in what kind of contract Benn will receive is Benn himself. His two options are to either sign a short-term deal that would take him to unrestricted free agency, or commit to being the face of the franchise with a longer contract.

Both sides of the negotiations have been quiet about the type of deal that Benn is expecting.

Loui Eriksson received a contract for six years worth $25.5 million when he was in a similar position in 2010. That deal will be a solid starting point for Benn’s negotiations.

Chances are the Stars will do all they can to lock Benn up long-term because his youth and talent have him poised to be a franchise player well into the next decade. If the cap numbers don’t drop significantly in the new CBA, Benn should expect to receive somewhere around $5 million annually.

The key leverage that the Stars have is Benn has only played in the league for three seasons. Eriksson had been on the pro roster for parts of four seasons before receiving his deal, which averages a little over $4.5 million per season for the remainder of his contract.

The free agent market has opened the door for the possibility of a 10-plus year contract as well. Whether the Stars want to try to keep Benn that long is up to Joe Nieuwendyk.

The most likely outcome will be a contract similar to Eriksson’s; six years in the $25 to $30 million range is the best bet. No matter what the contract is, the Stars and the Dallas fanbase hope to keep watching Benn play at the American Airlines Center for a long time.

Contact Mitch Klemp at MitchKlemp@yahoo.com and follow him on twitter @MeestaMitch.