Sad day for us Stars fans.While Mike Modano has yet to make a decision on retirement, it appears as though he career with the Dallas Stars has come to an end as the team has decided they will not offer the veteran centre a contract.
"We have the upmost respect for Mike Modano," Stars' general manager Joe Nieuwendyk said in a statement released by the team. "He will always be a huge part of this hockey club. He is a great teammate and a great person. Mike is the face of this franchise. That's what makes this decision so hard."
The 40-year old Modano has been the face of the Stars franchise for well over a decade, helping lead the team to the lone Stanley Cup title in franchise history in 1999. He is also the franchise leader in most statistical categories including games (1,479), goals (557), assists (802), points (1,359), power play goals (156), shorthanded goals (29), game-winning goals (92).
While Nieuwendyk admitted that there may be no place for Modano on the ice, he would love to see him remain with the franchise in some front office capacity.
"While I think it is time for him to stop being a player for the Stars, we plan on talking with our future new owner about a role that would best fit the interests of Mike and the organization," Nieuwendyk said. "We're not sure what that is yet, but I can tell you that we want Mike to be very involved, when he is ready. If he goes on to play for another team, we want him to return to the Stars when he is finished and remain a large part of what we do."
Nieuwendyk stated that he and the Stars staff have held many internal meetings sine the end of the season to discuss the team's roster moving forward. He also added that he has met with Modano himself on several occasions to discuss his own future. By not offering the Livonia, Michigan native a contract, Modano will officially become an unrestricted free agent on July 1st and will be free to sign with another team if he chooses to continue his hockey playing career.
While Nieuwendyk said it was extremely difficult to part ways with the Stars icon and former teammate, he realized it was necessary for the betterment of the franchise going forward.
"We have a good number of young guys who are hungry and ready for bigger roles on our team. That's a big part of this decision," said Nieuwendyk. "These players are ready to step up and play important minutes. We need them to continue their improvement and development if we are to get to where we want to be as a hockey club."
Still Nieuwendyk admitted that he and the entire Stars organization owe Modano a debt of gratitude for his lifetime of service.
"We wish Mike the very best and thank him for his incredible contributions to the Dallas Stars. There never will be another Mike Modano. It is our goal to have him continue doing great things for this franchise in the front office, and we look forward to making that a reality someday."
Mo will definitely be missed.