Mike Modano to Red Wings: Top 10 Former North Stars of Modano Era

Tom Schreier@tschreier3Correspondent IAugust 9, 2010

Mike Modano to Red Wings: Top 10 Former North Stars of Modano Era

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    The first overall selection in the 2010 NHL Draft, Mike Modano is one of the last players to ever don a North Stars jersey.

    Modano hovered around the 30-goal mark in his four years in Minnesota before his breakout 1993 season when he scored 50 goals with the relocated Dallas Stars.

    His production has tapered off over the last few years and Dallas, a rebuilding team that needs allow its younger players more ice time, has parted way with the grizzled vet.

    Modano returns home to Michigan for what will likely be the last season in his storied career.

    Former teammate Jere Lehtinen and Modano are the last remaining active North Stars. Both players have played with both Minnesota and Dallas for the majority of their careers. Lehtinen is currently a free agent.

    The following is a list of the 10 best North Stars teammates of Mike Modano (1988-2010).

10. Russ Courtnall

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    Russ Courtnall, Toronto's seventh overall selection in 1983, spent time with six different teams in the NHL.

    Although he will not be remembered as a North Star—he spent three seasons with the North Stars/Stars organization—he had his best season, a 36-goal showing in 1992, with Minnesota.

    The 15-year veteran spent time with the Maple Leafs, Canadiens, Canucks, Rangers, and Kings before retiring in 1999.

9. Jon Casey

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    Jon Casey joined the Minnesota North Stars as an undrafted free agent after four years at the University of North Dakota.

    Casey would spend eight seasons with Minnesota, leaving in a trade between the Dallas Stars and Boston Bruins before the 1993 season.

    Although the Minnesota native was a competent goaltender for the North Stars, Casey is most remembered for being scored on by Mario Lemieux in the 1991 Stanley Cup Finals.

    Casey would spend a year in Boston and three seasons in St. Louis before retiring in 1997.

8. Basil McRae

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    Never known for scoring—his 12-goal 1988 season was a career high—Basil McRae was better known as an enforcer who protected players like Modano.

    The Quebec Nordiques' 87th overall bounced around before joining the North Stars the year before Modano was drafted.

    McRae excited fans in Bloomington with his epic fights, one of which can be viewed above.

    As one of Modano's teammates that never to play in Dallas, McRae was claimed by Tampa Bay in the 1992 NHL Expansion Draft, was traded to St. Louis that same year, and finished his career with the Chicago Blackhawks.

7. Jere Lehtinen

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 27:  Jere Lehtinen #26 of the Dallas Stars skates against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center on March 27, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Drafted 88th overall in 2002 by the Minnesota North Stars, Lehtinen spent three years in the SM-Liiga—a Finish professional hockey league—and never suited up for a game in Bloomington.

    Lehtinen, an unrestricted free agent after this year, has seen a slump in production since his 26-goal 2006 season. Lehtinen may retire this year after spending 14 seasons with the Stars.

6. Mark Tinordi

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    The captain of the Minnesota North Stars and Dallas Stars from 1991 to 1994, Mark Tinordi was a bruising defenseman with offensive upside.

    Originally a part of the Rangers' system, Tinordi established himself with the Minnesota North Stars, spending five seasons in Minnesota and one in Dallas starting the year before Modano came.

    As team captain Tinordi never shied away from a fight that would keep opposing players in check. One of his most epic fights against Wendel Clark can been viewed above.

    Tinordi had a breakout season in 1992, the year before the franchise left for Dallas, when he had 15 goals in 69 games.

    After a year in Dallas he was traded to the Washington Capitals, where he played for five years before retiring in 1999.

5. Dave Gagner

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    Originally drafted 12th overall by the New York Rangers in 1983, Dave Gagner's career took off when he joined the Minnesota North Stars in 1987.

    Gagner established himself a year before Modano joined the North Stars, in 1988, by netting 35 goals in 75 games with Minnesota.

    He would go on to have five more solid years with the North Stars, leading them to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1991, and another solid season with Dallas before his production began to trail off.

    After two lackluster seasons following his 32-goal 1993 season he was dealt to the Toronto Maple Leafs midway through the 1995 season.

    He would spend a year in Calgary, two in South Florida, and one in Vancouver before retiring in 1999.

4. Brian Bellows

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    Described by Sports Illustrated as the hottest prospect since Wayne Gretzky, Bellows was drafted second overall by the Minnesota North Stars in 1982.

    Bellows spent 10 seasons with the North Stars, seven of which he had 30 or more goals, before winning a Stanley Cup with the Montreal Canadiens in 1993.

    After the 1993 season Bellows' production began to slump. He would play one more season with Montreal, one with Tampa Bay, one with Anaheim, and two with Washington before retiring in 1999.

3. Dino Ciccarelli

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    Inducted into the NHL Hall of Fame a few months ago, Dino Ciccarelli is another one of Modano's North Star teammates never to suit up for a game in Texas.

    Ciccarelli, along with Phil Housley and Jeremy Roenick, is considered one of the best players never to win a Stanley Cup. He came close in his first year in Minnesota, when the team lost the 1981 Finals to the New York Islanders and again in 1995 when he lost to the New Jersey Devils as a member of the Detroit Red Wings.

    Ciccarelli spent nine seasons in Minnesota, where he eclipsed the 50-goal mark twice, before playing four seasons as a member of the Washington Capitals, four as a member of the Detroit Red Wings, and finishing up in Florida with the Lightning and Panthers.

    A productive player until the very end of his career, Ciccarelli had a 35-goal 1996 season with Tampa Bay and retired in 1999.

2. Derian Hatcher

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    Selected eighth overall in 1990 by the Minnesota North Stars, Derian Hatcher had a reputation throughout his career as a physical defenseman that used his intimidating size to keep opposing forwards at bay.

    Hatcher spent two years with the North Stars and another 10 with the Stars, winning the Stanley Cup in 1999 as team captain.

    After the 2002 season Hatcher left Dallas to join the Detroit Red Wings. After spending a year in Detroit he played three years with Philadelphia, following the lockout, but never was the same player he was in Dallas.

1. Neal Broten

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    Losing Modano was tough on Minnesota fans, but seeing Broten—a native son who played on the "Miracle on Ice" 1980 Olympic team—in a Dallas Stars uniform was devastating.

    The Roseau native, who was drafted 42nd overall in 1979 by the North Stars, spent eight years in Bloomington before Modano arrived.

    In 1994 Broten was dealt to the New Jersey Devils after spending 15 years with the North Stars/Stars organization. He would win the Stanley Cup with the Devils in 1995, but was never the same player he was after leaving Dallas.

    He would spend two years with the Devils and a half year in LA before returning to Dallas to finish his career during the 1996 season.