Free agency has come, and it has gone. Or at least the big rush of movement and puzzling or surprising signings has already happened. Now there are just a few big name players floating around. We expected the Dallas Stars would not be active in the craziness of the free agency, and most of us were correct. They did pick up a back-up goalie type in Andrew Raycroft, and got Adam Burish as both players agreed to cheap 2-year deals. Burish is leaving the Chicago Blackhawks to come to Dallas, and is gritty right winger and tough guy/pest. He will probably play on the 3rd or 4th line and does give Dallas a little more grit and physicality, but will probably not be a player that can be looked at for offense regularly. I would like him being added and I like that he is a right handed shot, but Dallas resigned Barch and Wathier to new contracts this off-season and it just now leaves Dallas with 3 to 4 scrappy guys that will be fighting for minutes on the low lines. I would have said to not resign Wathier or Barch and leave a spot for either a younger guy…or I don’t know, GIVE MODANO ONE MORE YEAR!
If you can’t tell, I am a little peeved by this whole situation. Mike Modano is not just my favorite Dallas Star, or one of the biggest names in the franchise’s history, he IS the Dallas Stars. Or now it appears he was. Since he broke in with his first goal in his first game on Oct. 5th, 1989, Mo has been the brightest star for the franchise, whether it has been the North Stars or the Stars here in Dallas. The guy owns more Stars records then anyone else, and owns countless records for an American born player. I remember as a kid, just a few years after the team moved to Dallas, becoming a big fan because I liked the game and the intensity. But I was immediately drawn to Mike Modano. He just seemed to glide faster then others could even do giving their best. His wrist shot was blazing fast, and when he wound up a slap shot you could feel everyone holding their breath. He was always something special. I remember through the mid 2000’s when people questioned if he still had it and if he was still the same player. I have watched Modano for years, and there was still times this last year that I could see that same step, that same drive. Sure there were also times that he was not one of the best players in the league. But he is 40 years old and can still skate better then quite a few guys and still is one of the smartest players in the game.
He spent most of last year on the 3rd or 4th line, playing with guys like Peterson, Barch, Sutherby, and a very lost Fabian Brunnstrom. Not necessarily the same talent he has played alongside most of his career, and he still put up 14 goals and 16 assists in 59 games. No those are not big time numbers, but those a still good NHL numbers. No he is not a even a 2nd line guy anymore, but I still think Dallas should have gave him one more year and let him play on the 3rd line. He provides leadership, character, and has shown that he can bring out some of the best when playing alongside some younger players. But now Dallas is moving on without him, whether he wants to play or not.
I am not saying I completely hate Dallas right now, but I think if he wants to play one more Dallas could have done it and it would work out great. I know Dallas is trying to move forward with bringing up some of the young guys and giving the team over to the youth that has started to spring up in the system. But for all that Modano has been, if he plays for Detroit or Phoenix or even anyone else, it just won’t be right. And the biggest reason why is this team is fighting the money issue, and can not pay him for one more year. But it is not like he wouldn’t take a pay-cut for Dallas, and I could not see him asking for more then about a million for next season. Screw Barch or some young kid, give Modano one more year. He deserves it if he wants it.
That’s my little rant and thoughts about this. Modano will always be a Dallas Star, I just hope now we don’t have to try and forget him playing one year for a rival team. I will admit I cried during the home finale this past season as I was down on the ice after the game, and I cried at a local Chili’s a bunch of us gathered to watch the last game in Minnesota. I think those memories will be etched in my mind just as much as the memories of him scoring #500, or him lifting the Cup, or shaking his hand as a boy in 1998. Goodbye Mo, you will be severely missed, and by many other fans as well. I hope if you do decide to play one year somewhere that after that year you return to Dallas.