Every day this summer (well almost every day anyway...) Defending Big D will count down the greatest players in franchise history (both Dallas and Minnesota), based on the sweater number they wore. Keep coming back for a look at who's the best in Stars history. For a recap on the list so far, click here.
The last three numbers we've featured have all been goalies, so why not continue that trend with the next two? Both players that we feature today had very brief stints with the Stars but when compared to other players within their number - seemingly all of them having brief stays as a North Star / Stars - their numbers an impact on the team stood out.
#32 - Arturs Irbe
Now based on my avatar here with SBNation, you may think this is a biased pick, and I'm not going to lie to you... it is. I have been a fan of the little Latvian since he broke into the league with the San Jose Sharks in 1991. This number came down to two players who each spent one season with the Stars. Irbe in 96-97 or defenseman Don Sweeney in 03-04. While Don was a very solid player for the Stars during his final NHL season, I gotta give the nod to Irbe as he did a very good job backing up Andy Moog and at the time led the Stars to their first division title in Dallas and their best record in team history up to that point.
Irbe was actually a pick of the Minnesota North Stars back in the 10th round of the 1989 draft, but was claimed by San Jose in the 1991 dispersal draft. He signed with Dallas after five seasons as a Shark where he became a breakout star in 1994 but soon after saw his numbers drop partially due to an injury to his catching hand suffered when his dog bit him. Expectations were low as he was named Moog's backup goalie, but as it turned out he has himself a very solid season playing in 35 games and sporting a 17-12-3 record with a 2.69 goals against average and an .893 save percentage. He also had three shutouts that season. Of course everyone remembers that for as great a regular season as 96-97 was, it ended in disaster with a first round upset at the hands of the Edmonton Oilers. That following summer the Stars brought in free agent Ed Belfour - spelling the end for both Moog and Irbe's time in Dallas.
A look at who we picked at #31 after the jump...
#31 - Ron Tugnutt
Ron Tugnutt may have been past his prime when he traded to Dallas in the summer of 2002, but he was thought to be a key veteran addition that could back up Marty Turco while at the same time hopefully giving guidence to the young goalie. he did just that in his two seasons - his final two seasons as an NHL pro.
In his first season with the Stars, he played in 31 games and had a very solid record of 15-10-5 with a 2.85 goals against average and .896 save percentage. Many will remember that his value to the team became even more apparent after Turco suffered an ankle injury in Janurary of 03 which pushed Ron into the starters role for 20 games. It was also during that time he posted back to back shutouts against San Jose and then against his former teammates in Columbus in early March putting his season total at four.
The following season was much tougher for him as he suffered knee and groin injuries and saw action in only three games from the start of the season to mid-January. He only played in 11 games that season and managed just three wins, but one of those wins was yet another shutout against Chicago - just days after to the year he posted back to back shutout wins.
His final numbers with the Stars stand at 42 games played, 18-17-5 record with 5 shutouts and a 2.45 goals against average.