by PuckStopsHere on 09/22/11 at 03:24 AM ET
Today Mike Modano announced his retirement after 1499 regular season games played. As is my policy, I am writing a career retrospective on him as I consider him a future Hockey Hall of Fame player. Here was the post I made when I first considered him a Hall of Famer.
Modano was born on June 7th, 1970 in Livonia, Michigan. He first gathered the attention of hockey scouts as a 15 year old playing in the Michigan National Hockey League (MNHL) for Detroit Compuware. He scored 131 points in 69 games and was a local hockey star. Modano chose to come to Canada to play in the CHL. He went to Saskatchewan to play for the Prince Albert Raiders. He scored 62 points as a 16 year old rookie in the WHL and was actively recruited by several US colleges. Modano turned down at least three scholarship offers to remain in Prince Albert. In his second WHL season, Modano scored 127 points and starred for the US in the World Junior Championships with five points in seven games.
That was good enough to make him the first selection overall in the 1988 entry draft selected by the Minnesota North Stars. Unable to reach a contract agreement with the North Stars, he returned for another season of junior. Modano scored 105 points in on 41 WHL games played. Despite his lack of games played, this was good for a spot on the WHL East First All Star Team. When Modano returned to the World Junior Championships, he was the second highest scorer in the tournament with 15 points. After finally agreeing to his first NHL contract, Modano joined the North Stars and played two playoff games.
Modano quickly became a frontline player in Minnesota. Modano was runner up to the Calder Trophy in his rookie season with 75 points in his rookie year. This earned him a spot on the NHL All Rookie Team. He played for the US in the World Hockey Championships, putting up six points in eight games. He returned to the North Stars for his second season and took his team to a Stanley Cup finals appearance as well as joining his team on a friendship tour of the Soviet Union. Modano’s third season began with a Canada Cup appearance. He tied with Brett Hull to be the top American scorer and the third highest scorer in the tournament. His fourth season was his highest scoring as he scored 93 points and played in his first of seven career NHL All Star Games.
His career changed as the Minnesota North Stars moved to Dallas and became the Dallas Stars. In Dallas, Modano repeated as a 93 point scorer, this time scoring 50 goals for the only time in his career. Modano was now the top offensive player on his team. Modano was a key part of the 1996 World Cup winning American team. He was also on the 1998 US Olympic team in Nagano, Japan, which was the first Olympiad with full NHL participation. In 1999 he was a key member of his Dallas Stars Stanley Cup victory. He led the playoffs with 18 assists. Dallas returned to the Stanley Cup finals and lost in 2000, but not without Modano leading the playoffs in assists and power play goals. He had earned a spot on the Second Team All Star during the regular season as well. His 2000/01 season saw him earn a nomination for the Lady Byng Trophy for sportsmanship as well as playing ability He won the silver medal in the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City and led the tournament in assists. In his 2003 season he was a Selke Trophy nominee as best defensive forward. He was named captain of the team for the 2003/04 season.
Modano had a year off during the 2004/05 lockout, but returned as captain and a top offensive star in 2005/06. He appeared in his third Olympiad in 2006. In his personal life, he married rocker Willa Ford. By this point, injuries and age were beginning a decline in Modano’s offensive numbers. He remained a frontline player in Dallas until the end of the 2009/10 season when his contract was ending. Modano was considering retirement and a video tribute was made for his final game played in Minnesota against the Minnesota Wild.
Modano did not retire. He decided to play one more year in his home state of Michigan for the Detroit Red Wings. Injuries limited him to 40 games played and he was a healthy scratch in the playoffs. Modano was a free agent again in the summer of 2011 and although there were rumors of him returning for another year, he chose not to. Modano says he had not been working out regularly over the summer and was not in shape for a long season. Hence he has announced his retirement.
Mike Modano has been the face of the Minnesota North Star/ Dallas Star franchise. He is their top player and holds many team records. Modano retires 14th overall in career games played. His 561 career goals are 23rd all time. His 813 assists are 27th all time. His 1374 points are 22nd all time. He is one of the highest scorers of all time. Modano and Mark Recchi (who also retired this summer) are the last active players in the NHL to have played in the 1980’s.
With Modano’s retirement my list of currently active Hall of Fame players drops to thirteen players. Here they are:
I expect that this list will grow a bit in the upcoming season. Dominik Hasek is most likely to be the next retirement as he is taking the season off but claims he plans to return in the future; plans like that often change.
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