Thanks to DTCBob for his FanPost this afternoon...
If Mike Modano does indeed decide he's willing to go through another long season in the NHL, I think we can all agree that there are few worse places to see him play than in Detroit. No one wants to deny him the chance at another Stanley Cup or the opportunity to be a wanted and needed player on a team, but Modano wearing that red jersey on opening night at the AAC is just too much for this Stars fan to handle.
Until now, it seemed that Detroit was really the only team that had the chance and the interest in landing the veteran, but today word spread that the Minnesota Wild and the San Jose Sharks have also put their names into the hat. From ESPN Dallas:
The market for Mike Modano's services appears to be growing. The 40-year-old forward said Friday that the San Jose Sharks and Minnesota Wild have contacted him about the possibility of playing next season.
After the story started to spread that the Wild were indeed interested, Michael Russo of the Minnesota Star-Tribune sought out the Wild GM to verify that yes, indeed Minnesota was interested:
"We’re interested in speaking to Mike about his future plans," Fletcher said. "We obviously have interest in doing anything that will make our team better and we just want to sit down with him and see if there’s a mutual fit."
Both stories are sure to mention that no meeting has been set up yet as both Modano and Fletcher have prior engagements that prevent them from meeting at this time. Yet it certainly sounds as if Minnesota is doing a bit more than just a polite inquiry and are serious about trying to pick up Modano. This isn't just about a "feel-good story", this is about the Wild trying to improve their team and Modano being a short-term piece of that puzzle.
Russo mentions that while at first it doesn't seem there's a fit for Modano, Fletcher and coach Todd Richards may have come around this past week or so as free agency has shaken out. The Wild decided to move on without Owen Nolan, mainly because they are trying to move to a younger, faster team and they need some of their young forwards to start getting more minutes. Yet the situation with Modano seems to be a bit different, as it's likely Nolan wasn't willing to take a pay cut and take less minutes on the third line.
I think we can all agree that Modano going to San Jose is downright vomit-inducing.
Once again, this comes down to Modano having to decide if he's willing to not only go through another season again in the NHL, but also if he's willing to take on a reduced role with whichever team signs him. He's not going to be a top-six forward anymore -- he's going to be a depth center on the third or fourth line who is likely on the second power play unit, and who will get time on the PK as well. Can he live with the paycut and the reduced minutes, especially after it seemed to truly bother him last season?
Let's not blind ourselves about what Modano is, right now and at this moment: he's 40, he's inconsistent and while he still has the scoring ability he'll be lucky to approach 20 goals in a season again. He's always been a bit of an iron man, but with each passing season it's tougher for a player to recover from those nagging injuries.
He's taking his time on this decision, and now that there's more than one team involved I can't imagine it will make that choice any easier.