Ah, hockey in the summer, where things come to a grinding halt for about two months in between one long season and another. To fill the void we at Eye on Hockey thought it would be fun to make an all-time team for each of the 30 organizations in the NHL today.
The ground rules: The teams will consist of a center, two wings (regardless of which side), two defensemen and a goaltender. A player must have spent at least 200 games with a franchise to be considered. So Bobby Orr won't be on the Blackhawks' roster or Wayne Gretzky for St. Louis.
Entering the NHL during its first wave of expansion as the Minnesota North Stars, the since-relocated Dallas Stars have a rich history in both the Twin Cities and Texas. The team was in Minnesota from 1967 until 1993 before being moved to Dallas.
Though hard to believe a team could move from Minnesota at the time, the Stars have enjoyed some great success, including a Stanley Cup title in 1999. Additionally, the team has had a massive impact on the growth of hockey in Texas -- and with the Minnesota Wild filling the void left by the North Stars, all is well in the State of Hockey.
Through both the North Stars and Dallas Stars, the franchise has been home to several, um, star players over the years. Both iterations of the franchise are represented well, but it skews a bit more to the boys from Dallas, particularly that 1999 Cup team, with four members of that squad making the all-time list.
This can't go any further however until we pay our respects to Hall of Famer Gump Worsley, who played his last four years in the NHL with the North Stars. Even though masks had become prominent among goalies by then, Worsley, who was 44 years old when he retired, still had no interest in protecting his face. (Photo via hhof.com)
Mike Modano: In many ways, Mike Modano is the Dallas Stars. Though he was a North Star to start, without Modano, it would hard to imagine the franchise reaching the heights it did in Dallas.
Modano, a native of Livonia, Mich., became just the second American-born player to be drafted first overall when the North Stars took him with the top pick in 1988. The first four seasons of his career were spent in Minnesota and he put up 309 points over that span in the Green and White. He was also a big part of the 1990-91 team that made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Final.
When the team moved to Dallas, it had one of the league's most gifted offensive players to sell to the locals. That first season in Texas, Modano reached 50 goals for the first and only time in his career and solidified himself as the face of the team. Modano enjoyed a 16-year run in Dallas and became the franchise's all-time leader in just about every category. He also became the all-time leading scorer among American-born players in the history of the NHL while there.
Modano's Stars/North Stars career ended with 557 goals, 802 assists and 1,359 points, all franchise records. He spent one season in Detroit, but later signed a one-day contract and retired as a member of the franchise to which he gave 20 years. His 1,459 games are a franchise record, 467 more than the next closest player -- Neal Broten -- and unlikely to be broken.
The highlight of Modano's career, however, had to be the 1999 Stanley Cup win. During the Cup run, Modano put up 23 points in 23 postseason games.
Finally, in one of the great gestures by an opposing team, the Minnesota Wild paid tribute to Modano in what then was expected to be his last NHL game in Minnesota. Even though the Wild technically have no ties to the Stars, Modano very much was beloved in that city. The team played a video tribute in the middle of the game and then named Modano the first star with No. 9 coming back on the ice in a North Stars jersey to share that last moment with the fans.
Dino Ciccarelli: A jack of all trades for the North Stars, Ciccarelli's brilliant NHL career started in the Twin Cities after he signed as a 20-year-old undrafted free agent in 1979.
In just his second season with the team, and first full year in the NHL, Ciccarelli posted a stunning 55-goal, 106-point campaign, while adding 138 penalty minutes. It was the best year of his career.
While in Minnesota, Ciccarelli topped 50 goals one more time, in 1986-87, while collecting two seasons of more than 40 goals and three with more than 30. He was eventually dealt to Washington as part of a package that landed the North Stars future Hall of Famers Mike Gartner and Larry Murphy.
Ciccarelli himself was inducted into the Hockey Hall in 2010. He ranks third in North Stars history with 332 career goals and is fourth with 651 points. His 1.08 points per game is a franchise record.
Brian Bellows: Though overshadowed by some of the high-flying goal scorers of the 1980s, Bellows certainly was one of the better snipers in his day. He was the second overall pick in the 1982 draft and from his rookie season on was an impact player for Minnesota.
Over 10 seasons with the North Stars, Bellows never finished with fewer than 50 points. His best season came in 1989-90 when he scored 55 goals and posted 99 points. In 1991, Bellows was an integral part of the North Stars' Western Conference champion team with 29 points in 23 postseason games.
Bellows beat out Bill Goldsworthy for this last wing spot, despite the fact that Goldsworthy's No. 8 is retired by the franchise. Bellows is behind only Modano with 342 career goals for the franchise, while his 722 points rank third. Bellows' other claim to fame is that he was the victim of some of the most brutal trash talk ever caught on microphone, so bad I can't even embed the video on this site in good conscience, but here's the link (Warning: Extremely NSFW, offensive language if that wasn't already clear.)
Sergei Zubov: One of the best offensive defensemen in the game in the late 1990s, Zubov was a key part of the glory years in Dallas and enjoyed a 12-year career with the Stars. In fact, no defenseman has played in more games or collected more points for the franchise than Zubov.
Over Zubov's career in Dallas, from 1996 to 2009, only three defenseman registered more points in the NHL: Nicklas Lidstrom, Sergei Gonchar and Scott Niedermayer. That's it. The Russian defenseman put up 549 points during his time with the Stars, which puts him sixth in franchise history. His 438 assists put him third on the list in that category.
Zubov was a key contributor to Dallas' Stanley Cup run in 1999, posting a playoffs-leading plus-13 rating and contributing 13 points in 23 postseason contests.
Though his on-ice accomplishments were great, one of Zubov's shining moments as a Dallas Star came in this 2007 commercial campaign urging fans to vote for him for the 2007 All-Star Game. It is glorious, complete with Brett Hull as "Ambassador of Fun" and Zubie's big line "PC load? What does that mean?"
If you're wondering, the campaign didn't work. Zubov didn't make the 2007 All-Star Game. He did make three straight from 1998 to 2000, however.
Derian Hatcher: This last D spot was a little tougher to pick, but in the end, the captain from the 1999 Stanley Cup team got the nod. The eighth overall pick in the 1990 NHL Entry Draft by Minnesota, it didn't take Hatcher long to adjust to the NHL after his debut in 1991-92.
Hatcher was a 6-foot-5, 235-pound nasty, physical shutdown defender. He spent the first 12 years of his career with the North Stars/Stars franchise and made a big impact, both figuratively and literally. Here he is wailing on Brendan Shanahan, leaving Shanny bloodied.
In 1999, Hatcher became the first American-born captain to hoist the Stanley Cup in the modern era. His 827 games are sixth all time for the franchise, while his 1,380 penalty minutes rank third. He is also a member of the US Hockey Hall of Fame, inducted in 2010.
Ed Belfour: This was actually a bit tougher of a call than I expected and even as I wrote Belfour's name, it was very hard to pass on Marty Turco. Belfour ends up getting the nod for playing a major role in the best years of the Stars franchise, which included backstopping the team in back-to-back Stanley Cup Finals.
Belfour came to the team in 1997-98 at 32 as a well-established NHL netminder. That year, he led the league in goals-against average with a 1.88 mark and posted nine shutouts. The next season, he helped the team claim the Stanley Cup, posting a .930 save percentage that postseason and three shutouts. Belfour took the team back to the Final with an almost equally great postseason performance the next year.
Eddie the Eagle ended his five-year run with the club with a franchise-leading 2.19 goals-against average, while his .910 career save percentage ranks third and 27 shutouts are fourth. He was enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2011.
Though Belfour made his name stopping pucks, he also was rather protective of his crease. Here's Martin Lapointe finding out just how protective as Mr. Belfour decides to check if the Red Wings forward remembered to wear his protective cup.
Neal Broten, Bill Goldsworthy, Marty Turco, Jere Lehtinen, Darryl Sydor, Brenden Morrow, Brett Hull, Jon Casey, Bobby Smith, Dave Gagner, Richard Matvichuk, Curt Giles.