Dallas Stars' All Stars: The Top 10 Players in Team History
When the North Stars moved to the Lone Star state from Minnesota in 1993, many people believed hockey would never work in Big D.
How wrong those people were.
Since their inaugural season, the Stars have been one of the most successful teams in the NHL.
Over the last 18 years, the Stars have won two Presidents' Trophies, seven division championships (two Central, five Pacific), a Stanley Cup in 1999 and have only missed the playoffs four times.
A crucial component to success on the ice is the personnel that skates on it.
So without further adieu, here are the top ten players in Dallas Stars History since 1993.
Craig Ludwig - Although Ludwig never put up large offensive numbers, his defensive play was stellar.
The former Montreal Canadien brought veteran leadership to a young Dallas team. His shot blocking ability was legendary and was never afraid to mix it up with the opposing teams' top player (See that here).
Richard Matvichuk - Drafted by Minnesota in 1992, Matvichuk stayed with the franchise until the 2003-2004 season.
It was rare to see Matvichuk play less than 70 games per season and teamed up with another infamous Star to form the most physical defense pair in Stars' history.
Darryl Sydor - Even though Sydor played with six teams (Los Angeles, Dallas, Columbus, Tampa Bay Pittsburgh and St. Louis) in his 18 year career, he is probably most well remembered for his time with the Stars.
When he first arrived in Dallas, Sydor was a scrappy, tenacious player and as he matured as a player, he became the steady hand on the back end of the Dallas ice.
Fans will never forget Sydor's effort in game six of the 2000 Cup Finals, crawling to the middle of the slot to get back on defense after suffering a knee injury (watch).
Brett Hull - This may come as a surprise to some.
The Stars' "Ambassador of Fun" only spent three seasons with Dallas and considering the goal-scoring reputation Hull carried with him to Dallas, you could almost say the Golden Brett underachieved, by his standards.
But he did do that one thing...
What was it?
Oh, yeah, bring the Stars its only Stanley Cup to date with his triple overtime goal against the Sabres in 1999.
Yes. It was a goal.
10. Jamie Langenbrunner
He may have fully matured as a member of the New Jersey Devils, but in the 90s, there was no player on the Stars' roster more energetic and squirrely than Jamie Langenbrunner.
The Minnesota-native was drafted by Dallas in 1993 and became a full-time player in the 1996-1997 season and had a solid rookie campaign, collecting 39 points.
What Stars' fans may forget is that he was one of the best players on the team during the Stars' Cup run in 1999. He absolutely dominated the opening series against the Oilers and was a constant contributer throughout with 17 points in the playoffs.
Langenbrunner was traded to New Jersey during the 2001-2002 season, went on to win his second Cup in 2003 with the Devils and was named captain in the 2007-2008 season.
Earlier this season, Langenbrunner was traded back to Dallas for his second tour of duty with the club.
9. Guy Carbonneau
When it was time to run the clock out, Ken Hitchcock sent out Guy Carbonneau to take the draw.
Nobody could kill 20 seconds by himself like Carbonneau did.
After thirteen years with the Montreal Canadians and a brief stint with the St. Louis Blues, Carbonneau came to Dallas as a free agent in 1994.
He was always the elder statesmen and, by looking at this photograph, the epitome of grit. You don't get a nose like that by not finishing your checks.
His constant leadership and on-ice determination made crucial impressions on young players, some of which make up this list.
8. Derian Hatcher
Derian Hatcher may be the toughest player in Dallas Stars history.
Along with Richard Matvichuk, he was the most dominating and physical force to skate on the Dallas blue line.
If any delinquent behavior was brewing, it was a foregone conclusion that Hatcher would be there to stifle the development.
He wore the "C" on his chest for eight seasons and displayed why he deserved to wear it every game.
And being the first American-born captain to raise the Stanley Cup gave Hatcher another item to hang his cowboy hat on.
But it's fair to say Hatcher will always, and I mean always be remembered for his hit on Jeremy Roenick.
7. Brenden Morrow
From one captain to another, Brenden Morrow.
He's definitely not a finesse player, but he is the most fearless player on this current Dallas roster.
Drafted by the Stars in 1997, Morrow became a regular in the 1999-2000 season.
In his early years, Morrow was usually one of the first to drop his gloves and get at 'em. He was feisty, abrasive and raw.
But time has worked its magic and Morrow has developed into one of the most well-respected captains in the NHL today.
He's a yearly threat to net 20-plus goals and is a prime example of a power forward. Unless severely injured, Morrow has and will continue to always be prepared to suit up and play.
Morrow has plenty of years left ahead of him, so he should easily be near the top of the list by the time he hangs up his skates.
6. Ed Belfour
After a phenomenal eight year stretch with the Chicago Blackhawks and half a season with the San Jose Sharks, Dallas signed Ed Belfour in 1997 to be a key part of a Stanley Cup.
In his first season in the Dallas crease, Belfour helped the Stars to the Western Conference finals were they lost to the eventual Cup-winning Detroit Red Wings.
Although he didn't raise the Cup that season, Belfour's numbers were flat out amazing. Belfour finished the 1997-1998 season with 37 wins and a gaudy 1.88 GAA.
1999 brought similar stats with one key difference: The Stanley Cup.
There was no question Belfour was a finalist for the Conn Smythe as playoff MVP with his three shutouts, .930 save percentage and 1.69 GAA.
He also made some no so great news off the ice, but that can easily be overlooked with his on-ice performances.
Belfour will go down as one of the top ten goalies in NHL history with 484 wins and it can be argued his time with Dallas was the high point of his career (although I'm sure Chicago fans will have something to say about that).
5. Marty Turco
You know you've made an impact when teams game plan around you, and you're the goaltender.
Before the no-play zone was instated after the lockout, dumping the puck in on Marty Turco was rarely seen and practically ineffective.
He is one of the best puck-handling goalies in the league and for the majority of the 2000s, was one of the league's elite netminders.
When Ed Belfour's time had ended with the Stars, Turco was the man between the pipes and in his first full season, he set the all-time record for goals against average in a season with a ridiculous 1.72 (although Calgary's Miikka Kiprusoff broke it the following season).
For eight more seasons, it seemed Turco gave fans something to ooh and ahh about nightly.
Turco is the owner of several franchise goaltending records that include most games played (509), goalie assists, shutouts (40) and wins (262).
If that's not worth of the number five slot, I don't know what is.
4. Joe Nieuwendyk
Joe Nieuwendyk has the distinct honor of being included in both the best and (arguably) worst trades in Stars' history.
In 1995, Dallas made a trade with the Calgary Flames to bring Nieuwendyk to the Stars in exchange for Corey Millen and a recently drafted Jerome Iginla. This trade could not have worked out better for either team.
Calgary received their future franchise player while the Stars received a Stanley Cup.
Nieuwendyk was awarded the Conn Smythe in 1999 and deservedly so, posting 21 points and carrying the load when both Mike Modano and Brett Hull were hampered by injuries. He also wore the "C" during the quarterfinals against Edmonton while Hatcher was sidelined due to suspension.
Although he never posted eye-popping numbers during his seven seasons with the Stars, he was a model of consistency and the most graceful player on the ice. He had one of the most deceptive snap shots in the game and used it frequently to elude goalies.
Unfortunately, in 2002, Nieuwendyk, along with Jamie Langenbrunner, was shipped to New Jersey for Jason Arnott and Randy McKay in what is considered by many in the Stars community as the worst trade in franchise history.
Both Nieuwendyk and Langenbrunner won another Cup while the Stars were stuck in mediocrity for the following seasons.
Nieuwendyk returned to the Stars in 2009 as the team's GM and has seemingly set the Stars up for future success.
3. Jere Lehtinen
Many people do not put a lot of stock into the plus/minus statistic.
Jere Lehtinen was a plus-176 in his 14 year career, all with the Stars organization.
The recently retired Finn was the perennial "Underrated Player of the Year" as his two-way play was usually underappreciated outside of the DFW area although he was awarded the Selke Trophy one three occasions.
Lehtinen was never a flashy player and was the perfect example of a grinder with a nose for the net as he surpassed 20 goals seven times and 30 twice.
Lehtinen's overall stats aren't going to get him to the Hockey Hall of Fame by any stretch but what puts him so high is the fact that he was loyal to the Dallas organization.
He had opportunities to leave but never wavered. His dedication and durability place Lehtinen far and above almost any player that's worn a Stars sweater.
2. Sergei Zubov
There has never been a defenseman in Stars' history with the offensive prowess of Sergei Zubov.
Zubov was already well established as a premier defenseman by the time he was traded to Dallas (for Kevin Hatcher of all people) after year with the Pittsburgh Penguins and two with the New York Rangers before his time in the Steel City.
He was a constant in the Dallas lineup and never posted less than 40 points in seasons in which he played more than 70 games, which was all but two of his 12 with the team.
Zubov was one of the first to take advantage of the elimination of the two-line pass after the lockout and had perfected the "liberation" pass out of the defensive zone that sent a forward, such as Jussi Jokinen, on a breakaway.
Time after time, Zubov exposed the opposing teams' defense and found his way on the scoresheet.
Unfortunately for Zubov and the Stars, after two consecutive years marred by injury, Zubov was not resigned by the Stars after the 2008-2009 season and eventually ended up playing in the KHL for SKA Saint Petersburg.
By the time Zubov left for the KHL, he was the all-time NHL scoring leader for Russian-born defensemen. The fact that he had never been awarded the Norris Trophy is a shame because when he was healthy, he was one of, if not the best defenseman in the league.
But what could be most impressive about the Russian is that he smoked a pack and a half of cigarettes daily.
There is no doubt the his number 56 will hang in the American Airlines Center.
1. Mike Modano
What a shocker.
There aren't enough good things that can be said about Mike Modano but I'll keep it short.
The franchise leader in just about every offensive category has as special place in every single Stars fan and I'd like to think most hockey fans have a soft spot for Number Nine.
From his early days with the North Stars to his final home game in Dallas, Modano had the attention of every fan once he hit the ice.
He had the most lethal shot in Stars history and proved it 557 times in a Dallas uniform.
When Ken Hitchcock took the reigns of the team, he wanted Modano to become more of a two-way player. Modano obliged and became even more dangerous on every inch of the ice. That two-way philosophy has stuck with him the rest of his career.
Modano was a player who wore his emotions on his sleeve. He loved his fans maybe more than they loved him.
It was a sad day when it was made clear that Modano wouldn't be returning for his 21st season with the organization but I'd have to think that most knew it was time to move on.
Although he now wears a Detroit Red Wings jersey, it won't tarnish or damage his legacy as a Dallas Star.
There will never be a more iconic, revered and beloved player in Dallas Stars history.
It's only a matter of time before his jersey is lifted to the rafters.
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