The Franchise Four. The Mount Rushmore. Four players who tell the story of an organization. In this series I’ll be taking a look at the history of all 30 NHL squads. For criteria, I’m choosing one forward, defenceman, goaltender and a wild card from any position.
Since moving from Minnesota in 1993, the Dallas Stars have won one Stanley Cup title in 21 seasons.
During said time frame, the Stars have iced the likes of Mike Modano, Sergei Zubov, Joe Nieuwendyk, Ed Belfour, Brenden Morrow, Brett Hull, Derian Hatcher, Jere Lehtinen, Jamie Langenbrunner, Pat Verbeek, Richard Matvichuk and Marty Turco.
So, which players make their “Franchise Four?”
4. The Goalie – Ed Belfour
A member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, “Eddie The Eagle” helped put the Stars over the top. During the Stars 1998-99 run to a Stanley Cup title, Belfour won the William M. Jennings Trophy. In Stars club history, Belfour ranks second in wins (160), third in save percentage (.910), first in goals against average (2.19) and second in shutouts (27). A two-time All-Star with Dallas, Belfour paced all postseason netminders in shutouts in 1999 and 2000 with three and four respectively.
3. The Wild Card – Joe Nieuwendyk
Although the Stars had to give up a young Jarome Iginla to obtain him, Nieuwendyk was a difference maker in Dallas. A member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, Nieuwendyk was incredibly clutch for the Stars. When Dallas won the Stanley Cup in 1998-99, Nieuwendyk was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy, netting a postseason best eleven goals and six game winners. During the ensuing season, Nieuwendyk added a pair of overtime game winners as Dallas reached the Final again. Across seven seasons with the Stars, Nieuwendyk hit the 30-goal mark twice. In Stars franchise history, Nieuwendyk ranks fourth (178) in goals and eighth (340) in points.
2. The Defenseman – Sergei Zubov
Zubov was quite the catalyst on the blue line for the Stars and a huge part of their power play. In Stars franchise history, Zubov tops all defensemen with 111 goals, 438 assists, 549 points and a plus 103 rating. Zubov was on ice for 562 power play tallies for Dallas. Additionally, Zubov leads the Stars with a 60.8 defensive share. In 12 seasons with the Stars, Zubov was also a three-time All-Star, tops in power play goals on-ice for twice and defensive shares once. Skating for the 1998-99 Stanley Cup championship squad, Zubov paced all players with a plus 13 rating.
1. The Forward – Mike Modano
After playing a handful of seasons with the Minnesota North Stars, Modano’s star especially soared as the franchise migrated south. During his first season in the Lone Star State, Modano posted a career best 50-goals in 1993-94. A member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, Modano was a six-time All-Star with Dallas. Modano ranks first in games played (1,142), goals (434), assists (616) and points (1,050). With Dallas, Modano recorded six seasons of 30-goals or more. In 1998-99, Modano helped lead the Stars to their lone Stanley Cup title. During the championship campaign, Modano registered a postseason best 18 helpers. The following runner-up season, Modano again paced all postseason performers with 13 helpers, four power play tallies and also potted a pair of game winners. Modano was also a terrific two-way player, netting a franchise best 29 short-handed tallies.
Michael Gwizdala covers the New York Islanders for The Hockey Writers. Michael is also an Associate Producer at WNYT NewsChannel 13. Additionally, Michael was once a Media Relations intern for the AHL Albany River Rats. Michael is a graduate of The College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY.