There have been 16 seasons of Dallas Stars hockey and while granted the last two haven't been all that fun to suffer through, Stars fans really can't complain a whole lot as the team has made the playoffs 12 of those 16 seasons. True, some of those playoff runs ended far too early for any of our liking, but consider this: In that same time span of 16 seasons, the San Jose Sharks have made the playoff 13 times and yet are still behind the Stars in terms of total amount of playoff series victories as the Sharks have only managed 11 series wins while the Stars have 14.
I think we can all agree, Stars fans have been spoiled a tiny bit which makes the current issues and struggles this team is going through that much tougher to take, but that's a whole other discussion for another time... Right now lets look at the past and remember five of the best - or most enjoyable as it were - seasons the Stars have had since moving to Dallas! (Sorry 1991 and 1981..)
#5 Best Stars Season - 2002 / 03
In sports there is always a lot of "woulda" "coulda" and shoulda" to go around, but to me the 2002/03 season was the biggest one the Stars will maybe ever have. Finished first in the Pacific with a record of 46 wins, 17 losses, 15 ties and 4 overtime losses. The team boasted six twenty goal scorers (Jere Lehtinen, Jason Arnott, Scott Young, Bill Guerin, Mike Modano and Brenden Morrow) - a feat that had never been done before in Stars history or since until this previous season's version of the Stars. Marty Turco set a league record for lowest Goals Against Average in the modern NHL era (1.72). Derian Hatcher had a monster season gaining Norris trophy attention and ended up earning a place as NHL 2nd team all-star. Lehtinen also earned his third Selke trophy. In the playoffs, the Stars dispatched the Edmonton Oilers in six games, but that grueling series along with meeting up with uber-hot goalie J.S. Giguere and the Mighty Ducks in round two was their undoing. A tough way to end a season and one of the biggest "what ifs" in Dallas sports history.
Numbers four to one (you'll only need one guess to pick number one of course) after the jump!
#4 Best Stars Season - 1993 / 94
Of course the first season NHL hockey was played in Dallas should be on this list! Mike Modano introduced himself to the city by posting a 50 goal season - the only one of his career. Stars fans were also introduced to Shane Churla who was 2nd in the league in penalty minutes with a career high 333. At the time, their 42 wins were the most ever in franchise history. The Stars also made a trip back to Minnesota in December of that season to play in front of still supportive fans for a famed "neutral-site game" against Ottawa which they won easily. In the playoffs, they posted a four game sweep of the St. Louis Blues before bowing out to the Vancouver Canucks in the second round. Hockey had truly arrived in Dallas!
#3 Best Stars Season - 1999 / 2000
Playing as the defending champs means two things: For one, you're always going to have a target on your backs and secondly, as such you're always going to get the best possible effort from each team as you are in fact the measuring stick by which all will be compared. That said, the Stars did a very respectable job as champs posting a second Pacific division title and another western conference championship. Mike Modano again led the Stars in scoring with 38 goals and 81 points and was named a 2nd team NHL all-star. Ed Belfour led the league in save percentage with a .919 mark. It also happened to be Brenden Morrow's first full year in the NHL. Playoff wins against Edmonton, San Jose and Colorado gave Stars fans hope that maybe a second Cup was on it's way, but in the final, the team looked every bit the part of a gassed club that had seen the wear and tear of three very long seasons catch up with them.
#2 Best Stars Season - 2007 / 08
Some may be a bit surprised to see this season rate higher than a season where the Stars made it to the final, but it can be argued that the results of 99 / 2000 were a bit expected. 07 / 08 had their own expectations, but but this point, Stars fans had been kinda getting used to the idea that this was a club that would only go so far and then let people down with a playoff flop like they had in the previous three seasons. The season started slow and that slow start cost Doug Armstrong his job as GM as he was replaced by the co-GM team of Les Jackson and Brett Hull. Mike Ribeiro proved the first season in Dallas was no fluke as he led the Stars in scoring a second straight season. Nik Hagman posted a career high in goals. Brad Richards was picked up at the trading deadline and debuted with a five point night against the Blackhawks. The season of course was a roller coaster as the team had a red-hot February going 12 wins and 2 losses, only to follow it up with a horrible March going 2-7-2 including a 1 win and 5 loss mark at home that month. Going into the playoffs against the defending champion Anaheim Ducks, fans hopes weren't exactly high that the team would make it's mark and even after a promising 2-0 start on the road, the Stars came home and promptly lost game three which only dampened fans enthusiasm. What followed was a terrific playoff run that while cut short in the west conference final, had been sorely missed by Dallas hockey fans.
#1 Best Stars Season - 1998 / 99
We won't rehash too much of this season because we all know how awesome this season was and even though it's been over ten years, the memories from this season are still very vivid for many Stars fans - or at least they are for me. Safe to say, the only way this season is knocked off it's number one perch is if the Stars ever win the Stanley Cup again and even then, it'd still have to be a pretty magnificent season to top it. The Stars first season in the Pacific division, it featured the first of many division titles won by the Stars. Not to mention the winning of the Presidents Trophy as regular season champs. Mike Modano of course led the team in scoring with 34 goals and 81 points. Jere Lehtinen won his second Selke trophy and the goaltending tandem of Ed Belfour and Roman Turek won the Jennings trophy.