Could Mike Modano Be Contemplating a Return to the NHL?

Michael WagnerSenior Analyst IJuly 19, 2012

DALLAS - APRIL 08:  Center Mike Modano #9 of the Dallas Stars celebrates his goal against the Anaheim Ducks at American Airlines Center on April 8, 2010 in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Ten months ago, one of the greatest American hockey players, Mike Modano, announced his retirement. He signed a one-day deal with the Dallas Stars so that he could retire a Star.

However, today Modano might be contemplating coming out of retirement to give it one more season.

Strangely enough, the idea of Modano coming back to the NHL was brought up by Modano himself after the Wild's signing of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. Modano tweeted, "Can I come back and play in Minnesota too...#northstars."

Now many would view that tweet as harmless fun, but Modano actually addressed his retirement and how it has been difficult without having hockey in his life.

Modano was asked by Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News if he was serious in his tweet or if it was just said in jest. Here is Modano's reply:

"I don't know," he said. "You look at things and you wonder what's the worst thing that could happen? I mean, I get in better shape. I don't know what's going to happen with the CBA and everything, but I mean, one more year? That kind of intrigues me."

So could we see the return of Mike Modano in the NHL? The answer isn't an easy one. There are several factors that would contribute to a decision for Modano.

Is Modano healthy?

During the 2010-11 season, the 41-year-old Modano was having a solid start with the Red Wings in limited ice time. His season was derailed when, just 40 games in, he suffered a laceration on his wrist and was never able to fully recover. He did not play another game that season and called it a career that offseason.

Now the wrist appears to be completely healed and could be a contributing reason why he wants to give it another go in the NHL. 

Who would be interested in the now 42-year-old forward?

Modano spent almost his entire career with the Stars franchise (Minnesota/Dallas). They are currently a team in rebuilding mode. Unless they'd want Modano in a mentor role, I doubt there would be interest in his services.

Detroit is also another team Modano could be interested in again, but his ice time with them was lacking when he was on the team. It's doubtful that they would consider a reunion.

Now that we have the likely no's out of the way, one of the teams that could be interested in Modano is the team that has been the most active during the offseason—the Minnesota Wild.  

Minnesota is where Modano began his career with the North Stars. Many Wild fans were North Stars fans, so from a marketing standpoint it could be portrayed as a coming-home story. From Modano's tweet, it sounds like if the Wild called that he would listen.

Other that the Wild, it is difficult to say who would actually be interested in Modano. If he is in hockey shape, perhaps multiple contenders would consider him. Modano could likely still contribute 30 to 40 points in a top-nine capacity, so any team lacking depth on their third line could use him.

It's all speculation about a possible Modano return. But with players like Ray Whitney and Teemu Selanne still active and finding success in their 40s, and players like Dominik Hasek looking to make a return to the NHL at age 47, maybe if healthy Modano will at least consider a return to the NHL.

The real question would be, is there anyone interested?