Admittedly, the Minnesota North Stars enjoyed their greatest success as a franchise once they moved to Dallas to become (just) the Stars. Almost from the get-go, they became perennial contenders, a stretch that culminated in a Stanley Cup in 1999.
Ironically though, the franchise’s only individual 100-point seasons came during their years in Minnesota. Granted, Stars fans have witnessed their fair share of great scorers over the years since the team’s debut in 1993.
We’re talking about the likes of Mike Modano, who actually started his career with the North Stars, to current-Star Jamie Benn, who even won an Art Ross Trophy as the league’s top scorer in 2015. Nevertheless, the franchise’s top single-season scorers? They all date back to the high-flying 1980s, which maybe shouldn’t be a surprise. The players themselves may very well be, though. Here are the four total 100-point seasons in Dallas Stars/ Minnesota North Stars history:
Two-Time Member of the (North) Stars 100-Point Club
- Recorded 106 points (55 goals, 51 assists) in 76 games in 1981-82
- Recorded 103 points (52 goals, 51 assists) in 80 games in 1986-87
Dino Ciccarelli is the most prominent 100-point scorer in franchise history, as the only two-time member of the club and eventual inductee of the Hockey Hall of Fame (2010). Ironically, the prolific, yet pesky Ciccarelli wasn’t even drafted.
Considered too small to make it, Ciccarelli (5-foot-10, 185 pounds) obviously persevered, first signing with the Minnesota North Stars. That was just Step No. 1. He followed it up with a career that lasted 19 seasons, nine of which were played with the North Stars. Two of those cracked both the 100-point and 50-goal barriers.
Up until Brian Bellows scored 55 markers in 1989-90 (but just 99 points), Ciccarelli’s two campaigns stood up as the only ones of the kind in franchise history. At least one of the two was memorable for other reasons.
The North Stars failed to so much as make the playoffs in 1986-87, but 1981-82 marked the first-ever division championship for the franchise. The postseason nevertheless ended in disappointment. One season after reaching the Stanley Cup Final and losing to the New York Islanders in 1980-81, the North Stars got eliminated in the first round (Chicago Black Hawks). For what it’s worth, Ciccarelli scored four points in the four-game defeat.
Member of the (North) Stars 100-Point Club
- Recorded 114 points (43 goals, 71 assists) in 80 games in 1981-82
Ciccarelli wasn’t the only North Stars player to score 100 points in 1981-82. In fact, he wasn’t even the North Stars’ leading scorer, as Bobby Smith notched an impressive 114 that season, a mark that has stood the test of time as the highest mark in franchise history. It was the only 100-point season of Smith’s career, which included a lengthy detour with the Montreal Canadiens, with whom he won the Stanley Cup in 1986 (and scored the championship-winning goal).
Nevertheless, the former first-overall draft pick (1978) continued to find success, consistently scoring a point per game each season until his production began to drop in 1989-90. At that point, Smith got traded back to the North Stars for the last three seasons of his career, which coincided with the team’s last three in Minnesota.
In many respects, the trade back to the North Stars secured Smith’s status as a franchise lifer. It initially wasn’t meant to be, in spite of a seven-year contract signed immediately after his career 1981-82 season. Even though Smith had requested the trade due to a drop in ice time, the eventual Phoenix Coyotes general manager’s heart had clearly never left the State of Hockey.
Member of the (North) Stars 100-Point Club
- Recorded 105 points (29 goals, 76 assists) in 80 games in 1985-86
Neal Broten may not have had the first 100-point season in franchise history, but he does have the first 100-point season (1985-85) by an American hockey player (in NHL history). Your mind may have gone directly to Modano, who has scored the most points in his career among American hockey players, but Broten has him beat here, as Modano topped out at 93 points.
That 1985-86 season ended with a first-round defeat to the St. Louis Blues, but it helped cement Broten’s status in American hockey lore. That’s saying a lot, as he was already beloved as a member of the Miracle on Ice U.S. Olympic hockey team.
Broten helped lead the franchise to Dallas, where he played one full season before getting traded the next to the New Jersey Devils just in time for their 1995 Stanley Cup run. Like Smith before him, Broten would score the championship-winning goal. Also like Smith, Broten would return to the franchise, via a waiver claim in 1996-97 (from the Los Angeles Kings), the last season he ended up playing.
Broten’s best days were obviously behind him then. However, seeing as they comprised 923 points in 1,099 total games, “best” is somewhat of an understatement in what turned out to be a (U.S.) Hockey Hall of Fame career.
After 10 years of writing hockey, Ryan decided it was as good a time as any to actually join The Hockey Writers for the 2014-15 season. Having appeared as a guest on such programs as CBC Radio One’s Daybreak, Ryan has written for such publications as the Montreal Gazette and Bleacher Report and worked for the NHL itself and his hometown Montreal Canadiens. He currently covers the Habs for THW as a columnist.