The Franchise Four. The Mount Rushmore. Four players who tell the story of an organization. For criteria, I’m choosing one forward, defenceman, goaltender and a wild card from any position.
Entering the NHL in 1967, the Minnesota North Stars reached the postseason 17 times, including Stanley Cup Final twice, across 26 seasons.
During said time frame, the North Stars iced the likes of Neal Broten, Dino Ciccarelli, Craig Hartsburg, Jon Casey, Brian Bellows, Bobby Smith, Bill Goldsworthy, Tim Young, Steve Payne, Dave Gagner, Jean-Paul Parise, Danny Grant, Al MacAdam, Tom McCarthy, Mike Modano, Dennis Hextall, Brad Maxwell, Jude Drouin, Gordie Roberts, Cesare Maniago, Don Beaupre, Curt Giles and Mark Tinordi.
So, which players make their “Franchise Four?”
4. The Goalie – Jon Casey
Casey spent eight seasons in net with the North Stars. In 1992-93, Casey was a Campbell Conference All-Star. During the 1989-90 season, Casey led the league with 31 victories and finished sixth in Vezina Trophy voting. Casey helped backstop Minnesota to the 1991 Stanley Cup Final. In North Stars franchise history, Casey ranks first in save percentage (.890), second in shutouts (12), third in wins (128) and games played (325) and fourth in goals-against average (3.28).
3. The Defenseman – Craig Hartsburg
Hartsburg played ten seasons with the North Stars. Hartsburg was a three-time All-Star with Minnesota. From 1982-1989, Hartsburg captained the North Stars. Hartsburgh helped the 1980-81 squad reach the Stanley Cup Final. The ensuing season, Hartsburg finished fourth in Norris Trophy voting. Across 61 postseason contests, Hartsburg recorded 42 points. Among blueliners in North Stars history, Hartsburg ranks first in goals (98), assists (315), points (413), power play tallies (40), game-winning goals (12) and fifth in games played (570).
2. The Wild Card – Dino Ciccarelli
A member of the Hockey Hall of Fame. Ciccarelli was a three-time All-Star with Minnesota and helped the club reach the 1981 Stanley Cup Final. In 1981-82, Ciccarelli set a single season franchise mark (later tied by Brian Bellows in 1989-90) with 55 markers. Ciccarelli recorded two seasons of more than 50 goals and four with more than 40. Across 62 contests, Ciccarelli notched 51 points. In North Stars franchise history, Ciccarelli ranks second in goals (332), power play goals (130), third in points (651), fourth in assists (319) and fifth in games played (602).
1. The Forward – Neal Broten
Broten played 13 seasons with the North Stars. During that span, Broten helped Minnesota reach the Stanley Cup Final twice and was a two-time All-Star. Broten twice netted more than 30 goals in a season. Across 104 postseason contests, Broten posted 75 points. In North Stars franchise history, Broten ranks first in points (796), assists (547), games played (876), short-handed goals (22), fourth in goals (249), tied for third in game-winning goals (27) and seventh in power play tallies (61).
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.