We are now into the dog days of summer where hockey news will come to us Stars fans slower than a Jody Shelley breakaway. With that in mind we here are going to start listing the greatest players in Stars franchise history by the jersey number they wore with the Minnesota / Dallas franchise.
Is Marty Turco the greatest Star at #35? Or is it maybe Andy Moog or even Gary Anderson? Sure Jamie Langenbrunner seems like a lock at #15, that is until you remember Dave Gagner wore that number as a North Star.
But that's in the days to come... I'm getting ahead of myself here.
We're going to start at the highest numbers and work our way down as we wanna save the good debates for last. As you can imagine the first few high numbers aren't exactly contested numbers, so after the jump let's get through the first few uncontested numbers starting with maybe the worst choice for a uniform number in the history of the NHL...
#98 - Brian Lawton
Before Mike Modano, there was Brian Lawton. Lawton was the "can't miss" blue chip American-born prospect that the North Stars drafted 1st overall in the 1983 draft. He was the first American player to have been drafted in that spot and if playing in a hockey crazy state like Minnesota and having the weight of being the savior of the North Stars franchise wasn't enough pressure, he somewhat foolishly chose to wear #98 - an indirect nod at Wayne Gretzky who at that point had been smashing NHL records left and right. Wearing a number that was one less than "The Great One" led to very obvious comparisions between the two players by fans and media when in reality there was no comparison between the two.
Unlike Modano, Lawton failed to live up to the weighty expectations both placed on him by Stars fans and by himself with the sweater number. It also didn't help that three spots later in that same draft, Detroit had a gem of a player named Steve Yzerman who looked to be the kind of franchise player that the North Stars so desperately sought in Lawton. Lawton quickly switched to other numbers after the first season wearing both #8 and #11, but he couldn't change his luck around. In 303 games with the North Stars Lawton tallied 85 goals and 91 assists. Not bad, but nowhere near the high expectations that come with being a top draft pick. Brian retired after the 92-93 season after having bounced around with five other NHL clubs and their various farm teams and is today the general manager and vice president for the Tampa Bay Lightning.
#91 - Brad Richards
Brad has always made it a point - even in his junior days with the Rimouski Oceanic of the QMJHL to wear the #19 on his sweater. The only time he didn't wear 19 during his days with the Tampa Bay Lightning was when he was on a Canadian national team that featured either the likes of Steve Yzerman or his idol Joe Sakic, at which point he'd simply flip the numbers around like most players do and wear 91.
When he was traded to the Stars in 2008 he obviously had to go with a different number as 19 was the retired number of Bill Masterton. He's wore the 91 ever since.
#88 - Eric Lindros
Other NHL players had wore it before him including Joe Sakic in his rookie season of 88-89, but Eric Lindros made the #88 famous when he first wore it for the
Quebec Nordiques Philadelphia Flyers in 1992.
By the time Eric had taken himself and his famous number to Dallas, he was a shadow of his former self. His body had been riddled with injuries including a series of concussions and he only managed to play 49 regular season and 3 playoff games with the Stars in what would be his final NHL season.
Many people assumed that his choice of #88 was made to compare with the likes of Gretzky's 99 and Mario Lemieux's #66, but the truth is Lindros wore #8 when he was with the Oshawa Generals of the OHL in honor of family friend and former NHL ref John McCauley. When he arrived in Philly, the number 8 was already taken so he simply did what other players had before him and doubled up the number.