Stars CEO rips Seguin, Benn: ‘These guys are not good enough’

David Amber, Nick Kypreos and Brian Burke take a look at the situation unfolding in Dallas, in which the CEO Jim Lites is calling out franchise players Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin.

The Dallas Stars are displeased with where they currently sit in the standings and frustrations within the organization are beginning to boil over publicly.

In particular, CEO Jim Lites and team owner Tom Gaglardi are unhappy with the performances of captain Jamie Benn and star centre Tyler Seguin.

“They are [expletive] [expletive], I don’t know how else to put it,” Lites said via Sean Shapiro of The Athletic (subscription required).

Lites explained that he frequently receives texts during Stars games from a vexed Gaglardi who’s irked by the recent play of his team’s top stars.

“We are a stars-driven league, and our stars aren’t getting it done,” Lites said. “It’s embarrassing, and no one writes it.”

Benn has a respectable 15 goals and 15 assists through 38 games but by his standards he’s having a down year. Same goes for Seguin who has only 11 goals and is on pace to record his lowest goal total since the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season.

“He used to be a pest to play against,” Lites said of Seguin. “People hated playing against Tyler Seguin. They don’t anymore. These guys have been great players, but we are 40 games into this season and they aren’t getting it done. We are going to sleepwalk to another 14th place from the bottom and miss the playoffs.”

The Stars have been at or above .500 since Oct. 23 but the team has been steadily sliding down the standings over the past six weeks or so. They are currently fourth in the stacked Central Division and occupy the final Western Conference wild-card spot, but that won’t suffice for the Stars executives.

“These guys are not good enough,” Lites said. “They’re not good enough for me, they’re not good enough for the owner, and they’re certainly not good enough for the general manager [Jim Nill], who I can’t speak for, but it’s not good enough for the job he’s done. But we’ve had meeting after meeting after meeting. The accountability on the ice is not there.

“These guys were signed to big contracts because they were the third- and sixth-leading scorers in the National Hockey League over the past five years. They get their money, we expect them to not be outplayed every game we play in. And if they were as good as they’ve been in the past we wouldn’t be having this conversation.”

Benn and his $9.5-million annual salary cap hit are locked up through the 2024-25 campaign. Meanwhile, the eight-year, $78.8-million contract extension ($9.85-million cap hit) Seguin inked in September doesn’t kick in until the beginning of next season.

Lites echoed his frustrations to Matthew DeFranks of the Dallas News.

“If 14 and 91 don’t lead, we will not be successful,” Lites told DeFranks. “I think this is the most talented and deep team we’ve had in years here. Certainly, this is the best team that we’ve put together from a talent perspective since Tom Gaglardi’s owned the franchise. Tom has allowed us to do everything we needed to do to be successful. Whatever it’s taken, he’s done. And I am tired of getting emails from him saying ‘What the hell is going on with our best players?’”

The next chance Benn and Seguin will have to redeem themselves is on Saturday when they host the Detroit Red Wings.

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