Mike Modano: Why The San Jose Sharks Should Kick The Tires On The Former Star

Andy Bensch@@AndyBenschSenior Writer IJuly 14, 2010

FORT WORTH, TX - APRIL 18:  Mike Modano of the NHL's Dallas Stars attends the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 18, 2010 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

As of last season, Mike Modano was the only player in the NHL playing with the same franchise he had been with ever since the 1980's.

In other words, Modano had been playing at the NHL level as a member the Dallas Stars for longer than both myself and the Sharks have been alive.

Both born in 1991, the Sharks and I obviously share the same appreciation for the amazing career Modano has already accomplished, because reports amongst the professional hockey writers suggest the Sharks are interested in Modano's services.

And despite his increased age, the truth is that the Sharks would be failing their fan base if they didn't at least consider bringing in the career long Star center.

After all, not only do the Sharks have a third line center vacancy with the loss of Manny Malhotra to Vancouver, but next to Dallas, what other organization better understands the value Modano can bring to a team?

Not only did San Jose's GM Doug Wilson play against Modano at the NHL level and has obvious first hand experience as to the player Modano is on the ice, but playing in the same division all these years has also added to Wilson's knowledge of what Modano can bring to the table—even at 40 years old.

Similarly to how Wilson brought in Rob Blake for the past two seasons (a future hall of famer who played mostly with a Sharks' division rival), it wouldn't be surprising at all if Wilson brought in Modano.

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Furthermore, Modano has torched the Sharks over the years and has subsequently been referred to as one of the infamous "Shark killers."

Especially when playing at the HP Pavilion, San Jose's home arena, Modano has averaged almost a point per game. In 38 career games, Modano has been good for 36 points, and two of which he will never forget.

In November of the 2007-08 season, Modano scored two quick first period goals on the road against San Jose that tied and then surpassed the retired Phil Housley for the most career points of any American born player.

And while any road arena would have acknowledged this accomplishment, Sharks fans gave a more than adequate standing ovation in appreciation for a tremendous accomplishment.

Clearly, while Modano has been a "Shark killer," he has done so in the most respectful and sportsmanlike manner possible (unlike say Corey Perry *cough* or Chris Pronger *cough*).

It shouldn't go unnoticed that while Sharks fans have been tortured by Modano one-timers over the years, they would be only so eager to open up their arms and switch from being disappointed when Modano scores to absolutely ecstatic.

"Sharks goal, scored by No. 9, Mike Modanoooo;" has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?

Now not only does adding Modano make sense for leadership, scoring depth, and championship experience (or in other words for just being Mike "friggen" Modano), but with Malhotra out of the picture, the Sharks don't have an ideal third line center.

Granted Malhotra and Modano bring two different styles to the third line center role, but both can provide value in different ways at that spot in the lineup.

Modano's scoring touch, play making ability and vast amount of playoff experience is a different combination of assets than Malhotra's defensive prowess, face off domination, and physicality.

And it could be argued that Modano's assets could be more of what the Sharks need to get them over the hump to their first Stanley Cup victory.

Of course, with Malhotra being only 30, San Jose could have had a defensive style third line center for many years to come and at Modano's age, he will probably only be a one-year stop gap fill in.

But even if Modano only has a year left of solid play, a couple of notions should be pointed out to how valuable that one year would be to the Sharks.

First of all, over the last three seasons, Modano has managed to still be an over a half point per game player.

Since the 2007-08 season started, Modano has played 221 regular season games and amassed 133 points in that time frame.

Doing the math, Modano has averaged .6 points per game over that time frame which is still quality production. And even in an injury shortened season last year, Modano still averaged over a half point per game by racking up 30 points in 59 games.

If he can stay healthy for the entire season, it wouldn't be wrong to pencil him in for 40-45 points.

That type of production (even if he were to finish a little shy of a half point per game) would be a big part of the solution to the secondary scoring hole the Sharks had last season.

And secondly, the experience and knowledge gained by youngsters Jamie McGinn, Logan Couture, and Torrey Mitchell by playing alongside Modano would be immeasurable.

Not only would all three benefit from playing alongside Modano but the one who has the potential to reap the most benefits would have to be Couture. The former first round pick (No. 9 overall in 2007) is coming off an impressive first year in pro hockey where he was an AHL All-Star and scored eight goals in his final 25 games combined between the end of the regular season and playoffs for the big club.

While big things are expected from Couture in the long run, either way it would be asking a lot of the 21-year-old to take over as the main third line center in just his first full year at the NHL level.

But given time to learn from Modano for a season, and Couture's time table to reaching his potential could be drastically reduced.

Therefore, bringing Modano to San Jose would do much more than just fill a need for the upcoming season as it would also help improve the Sharks roster for future seasons.

Not only can Modano still play an effective role, but that tutelage of the younger forwards would make his signing an even better move than bringing in a run of the mill free agent.

And when all is said done, many superstar athletes didn't finish their careers with the same team that they spent their primes with.

Joe Montana didn't finish his career with the 49ers, and Willie Mays didn't finish his career with the Giants.

Modano doesn't have to finish his career with Dallas, and San Jose would be more than a welcome fit.

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