Could Jamie Benn Be This Year's Claude Giroux?

Riley Kufta@@RileyKuftaContributor IIIJuly 12, 2012

DALLAS, TX - NOVEMBER 21:  Jamie Benn #14 of the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center on November 21, 2011 in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Entering into the past season, there were numerous players you'd expect to lead the league in points.

Of those players, very few would have predicted Claude Giroux. 

While there was never any doubt that he'd become a star in the NHL, the constant improvement Giroux has displayed has been spectacular to say the least. 

In 2010-11, Giroux posted a surprising 76 points in 82 games. That summer, the Flyers traded away Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, the teams' offensive leaders, and left the abilities of Claude Giroux much in question. 

But then came the arrival of Jaromir Jagr, an NHL legend who currently sits at eighth in all-time point scoring. 

Despite being 39 years old, Jagr's skill on the ice and his leadership both on and off the ice helped Giroux immediately become the team's leader; something that was much needed with the continual absence of Chris Pronger. 

Giroux finished third in the league with 95 points, while displaying both on-ice and off-ice qualities none would have expected. He elevated his game even further in the playoffs, where he posted 17 points in just 10 games and emerged as one of the most physical players on the ice. 

Now, heading in to the 2012/13 season, Giroux is undoubtedly one of the most elite players in the game. And it can all be attributed to the addition of Jaromir Jagr. Or can it? That theory will be put to the test, as Dallas forward Jamie Benn now has the opportunity to learn from Jagr. 

Much like Giroux prior to Jaromir, Jamie Benn has steadily increased his point totals since entering the league. He has undeniable talent, but has yet to solidify himself has one of the best in the game. 

The addition of Jaromir Jagr to the Dallas Stars could prove to be the signing that helped Benn pass the threshold from good to great. 

If it does prove true that Benn can feed off this talent and experience, then we can expect Ray Whitney to play a role as well. Ray Whitney is one of the most skilled and ageless players in the world, and his incredible play-making ability will surely improve the performance of anyone on his line. 

When selecting picks for hockey pools, or simply taking a look at what's in store for next season, keep in mind that Jamie Benn could very well emerge as one of the league's top point-scorers, while helping the Dallas Stars reach the playoffs at the same time.