While much of this article is almost blaspheme in the Dallas hockey realm, it is true.
The early chunk of this season has shown that the Stars can be successful without longtime veterans who had been on the ice for the 1999 Stanley Cup win, especially veteran Mike Modano.
Modano played in one regular season game and left early due to a rib injury. It's certainly nothing serious, but I would add that his age has definitely prevented him from healing as quickly as some of the young pups would.
While the length of Modano's injury might usually be a concern, it's not. If anything, it has served to show how strong this Stars team is without their longtime veteran center.
I expected a while back when Brad Richards was brought in that he was expected to pick up the slack when the day eventually came that Modano would retire, and Richards has filled those shoes well so far.
The injury to Modano has allowed rookie Tom Wandell to gain valuable NHL experience, and he has done well playing up with Dallas. The same can be said for the rookies that have been brought up due to injuries to longtime winger Jere Lehtinen.
My guess would be that Lehtinen will either retire or not be with the team come training camp next fall. He has been plagued by injuries for the last several years, and even from a longtime fan's standpoint, it seems time for Lehtinen to go.
While Modano is generally healthy, this season may be the beginning of the end for his career. This is where the hard part for some fans comes in. The sooner Modano leaves, likely for a front office seat, the sooner a young Stars forward can step into his spot.
Assuming that the young player was able to get some time in the NHL this season, it is likely he will step in and handle the position very well.
I applaud Mike Modano for his assuming of a more supportive role with the Dallas Stars over the last couple years. He knows that the best impact he can have now is on the young players entering the system, and most likely even injured he is still an important force on their development.
But for those fans who wait for No. 9's eventual return, know that a lot of good is happening on the ice with him gone. A glimpse at the future is what we see in games right now, and so far the future looks bright.
Ken Armer is a Community Leader for the NHL and the Dallas Stars for Bleacher Report. He also covers the Anaheim Ducks for SoCalSportsHub.com and covers the Texas and Dallas Stars for Hockey54.com. He can be contacted at email@example.com.
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