This past weekend I was out with some friends on the golf course, here in Pittsburgh, PA. One was a fellow hockey writer and the talk inevitably turned to hockey and the Dallas Stars. One thing that was asked of me really made me think twice a little bit and ask myself a question I don't think I've ever been asked: Who is my all-time favorite Stars player?
I've always had a favorite player at any one moment. The Dallas Stars have gone through several different iterations and each "era" brought about a separate player I enjoyed watching more than any other. Back when the Stars first came to Dallas it was Shane Churla, who was almost evenhandedly responsible for turning me into a hockey fan. Then it was Todd Harvey and after he was traded, things get a bit iffy in my memory.
In 1998, when the Dallas Stars began to make a serious run at the Stanley Cup, Eddie Belfour became the player I enjoyed watching the most. I modeled my own hockey game and approach as a goaltender after him. He was fiesty, he was always an underdog and no one thought he was capable of leading the Stars to glory. There were so many great players at the time, but Eddie was the best in my eyes.
After Eddie left, I guess you could say Marty Turco took over that spot. As a goaltender myself, I tend to gravitate as a fan to other goaltenders and Marty was instantly one of the best in the NHL. That I had been watching him play since he was a freshman in the NCAA at Michigan added another level of fandom, as I felt that I had sort of been on that journey with him from college all the way to the NHL. Despite all the struggles of the past few years, Turco is still one of my favorite players in the NHL.
What about now? I guess we all know who my favorite player is on this roster. There's no secret that I feel that Jamie Benn is going to be one hell of a special player for the Dallas Stars and it's incredible to see Stars fans realize this as well. I've been a fan of his ever since he was drafted in 2007, and I gladly shelled out an exorbitant fee to be able to watch him play while with Kelowna.
But who is my "all time" favorite player? I still don't know if I can answer that. What's interesting is that when I think about "all time", none of the names listed above actually come to mind. Because the more I think about it, the more I start to realize that Jere Lehtinen may be the one Dallas Stars player that will stick with me for the rest of my life. I don't think I need to go into the reasons why, other than he was one of the most underrated players in the NHL during his time -- despite the awards -- and I can't wait to see his number hanging from the rafters.
What about you? Who is your all time favorite player?
I'm interested in reading the responses, mainly because we have a good mix between "old" and "new" fans, and there are many readers and fans of the Stars whose favorite player is still on this team.