We still don’t know if Mike Modano’s skate around the Xcel Energy Center rink with a North Stars jersey will be the last time we see him on an NHL rink. We do know that if he does return to hockey, he won’t be a part of the Wild’s regular season finale against the Dallas Stars on April 10. That is, of course, if the Wild signs him as a free agent (don’t count on it).
The Stars made it official today, saying they won’t be bringing back the franchise’s all-time leading scorer, and probably the best American-born player ever to skate on a rink.
It’s tough to blame the Stars and GM Joe Nieuwendyk, who showed some class in making the announcement prior to free agency beginning on July 1.
“Mike is unclear on whether he will retire or not, and still may decide to play next season,” said Nieuwendyk. “After assessing our roster and where we need to go as a hockey team, we have decided to not offer Mike a contract and allow him to explore free agency on July 1. If Mike decides that he would like to play with another team, we support his wishes.”
After not making the playoffs, the Stars need to continue to get younger. While Modano did show flashes of his old brilliance last year, his 30 points continued a three-season decline in productivity (57 in 2007-08, 46 in 2008-09 and 30 last year).