The Starting Six series comes to you to dive into the best player at each position all-time for every organization. The biggest and best at each position, with the most memorable moments in franchise history. Here is the Dallas Stars all-time lineup.
Starting Six: Dallas Stars All-Time Lineup
Putting together the Dallas Stars all-time lineup is difficult. The team has such a rich history in the NHL, dating back to 1968.
The Minnesota North Stars were part of the first wave of NHL expansion in 1968. The team played 26 seasons in the hockey hotbed of Minnesota before moving to Dallas in 1993. Prior to the move, the North Stars had assembled a solid roster of players, but they were unable to translate it to much NHL success. In their 26 seasons the team made the playoffs 17 times and the Stanley Cup Finals twice. They never won a Stanley Cup, however. The North Stars were only able to win two division titles prior to their move south.
Upon arriving in Dallas, the newly named Stars became a great team. In their first 14 seasons in Dallas they made the playoffs 12 times. In total the Stars have made 14 playoff appearances in their 23 seasons. The Stars have won eight division titles and two Presidents Trophy’s. They have been to two Stanley Cup Finals, winning the Cup in 1999 (but don’t tell Buffalo).
Centre: Mike Modano (1989-2010)
Mike Modano was the face of the Dallas Stars. He holds every major offensive team record, including points (1,359), goals (557), and assists (802). Modano has played the most games in team history with 1,459. He would score 30-or-more goals nine times in his career, with a career best 50 in the 1993-94 season. In 1998-99 Modano led the Stars to their only Stanley Cup victory. He led the team in scoring in the regular season and in the playoffs. Playing through a broken wrist in the Finals, Modano assisted on the last five Stars goals scored, including Brett Hull‘s series-clinching goal.
The hall of fame centre was selected first overall in the 1988 NHL Entry Draft by the Minnesota North Stars. After a contract dispute, Modano joined the North Stars in 1989-1990 and put up a 29-goal, 79-point season. He should have won the Calder Trophy, but controversially finished as a runner up to Sergei Makarov.
Modano still holds the NHL record for most goals (561), points (1,374), playoff points (146), and games played (1,499) for a American-born player. While the Minnesota/Dallas franchise does have a lot of depth at centre, including Neal Broten, Dave Gagner, and Tyler Seguin, none of these players had the impact that Modano had.
Left Wing: Brian Bellows (1982-92)
Somewhat controversially, I am picking Brian Bellows over Jamie Benn as the left winger. I was leaning hard towards Benn, but when I look at the stats, its hard to argue Bellows is a bad choice. Taking out recency bias, Bellows has had the better career, so far.
The second overall pick in the 1982 NHL Entry Draft was a goal scoring machine for the North Stars. In his 10 seasons with the club, he scored 30 or more goals in seven seasons. He topped the 40 goal plateau three times, including a 55-goal season in 1989-90. Bellows ranks third all time in franchise points (722), second in goals (342), and fourth in assists (380).
Right Wing: Dino Ciccarelli (1980-89)
Signed as an undrafted free agent in 1979, Dino Ciccarelli would go on to have a hall of fame career in the NHL. Ciccarelli spent his first nine seasons with the Minnesota North Stars, where he developed into a goal scoring machine. In his nine seasons with the North Stars Ciccarelli would score 30 or more goals in seven of those seasons. The two seasons in which he did not reach the 30-goal plateau he only appeared in 32 and 51 games respectively. Ciccarelli would score 40 or more goals in four seasons, including 55 in 1981-82 season and 51 in 1986-87.
In the 1981 playoffs, Ciccarelli was a key part of the North Stars team that made an unlikely run to the Stanley Cup finals. Ciccarelli scored 14 goals and 21 points, which set a record for points by a rookie in the playoffs. While the point total has been tied, his 14 playoff goals as a rookie still stands.
During his time with the organization, Ciccarelli amassed 651 points in 605 games, good for 1.06 points-per-game. He is 651 points with the team ranks him fourth all time in scoring and his 332 goals ranks third.
Defensemen: Sergei Zubov (1996-2009)
Sergei Zubov was a stalwart on defence for Dallas for 12 seasons. Often overlooked, Zubov was a great puck moving defensemen. Acquired in a trade with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Zubov would produce 11 straight 40-plus point and 30-plus assist seasons in Dallas.
Zubov is sixth in all time team scoring with 553 points. He is also third in team assists with 442. He ranks 19th overall in points by a defensemen in NHL history with 771. Amazingly, Zubov was able to produce these numbers during the ‘dead puck’ era in hockey in the mid-90’s to mid-2000’s when scoring was at a premium. He was also able to produce in Ken Hitchcock’s very defensive-minded system in Dallas.
While Zubov does not get the same attention or adulation as other elite defensemen of his era, he compares rather favourably.
Defensemen: Derian Hatcher (1991-2003)
Derian Hatcher is not going to appear on any list of highest point totals. That was not his game. He was a big physical shutdown defensemen. Hatcher was selected eighth overall in the 1990 NHL Entry Draft by the Minnesota North Stars.
He made his debut in the 1991 season, playing in 43 games. He was named the teams rookie of the year. In the teams first season in Dallas, 1993-94, Hatcher had a career high in goals (12), points (31), and penalty minutes (211). He was named the Stars top defensemen. In 1995 he was named team captain. When the Stars won the Stanley Cup in 1999, he was the first ever American-born captain of a team to win the Stanley Cup.
Goaltender: Ed Belfour (1997-2002)
While Ed Belfour‘s time with the Dallas Stars was relatively short, it was also the best run the organization has ever had. Belfour joined the Stars as a free agent in 1997. The Stars would go on to win the Presidents Trophy, awarded to the team that ends the regular season with the highest point total. Belfour had one of his finest seasons, winning 37 games, adding eight shutouts, and posting a 1.88 goals-against-avergae to go with a .916 save percentage. The Stars would eventually lose in the Western Conference Finals to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings.
The following season (1998-99) the Stars would again claim the Presidents Trophy. Again Belfour had a great season, winning the Jennings Trophy, the fourth of his career. Belfour would also have a fantastic playoffs, posting a 16-7 record with a 1.67 goals-against-average and a .930 save percentage. The Stars would win the Stanley Cup in 1999. In the Finals, Belfour posted a 1.26 goals-against-average and had a 53-save performance in the Cup-clinching game six.
Belfour and the Stars continued their great form in the 1999-2000 season. In the playoffs, Belfour would backstop the Stars to a second consecutive appearance in the Finals. Belfour, again, had a great playoff performance with a 14-9 record, a 1.87 goals-agaisnt-average, four shutouts, and a .931 save percentage. Unfortunately the Stars would lose to the New Jersey Devils in six games.
This inclusion may be seen a somewhat controversial as Belfour only played five seasons in Dallas. His eventual replacement, Marty Turco played with the team longer and posted similar regular season numbers. Still, it was with Belfour the Stars had their greatest achievements.