37-31-14 (5th in Pacific)
RW Adam Burish, D Brad Lukowich, G Andrew Raycroft
RW Jere Lehtinen, C Mike Modano, G Marty Turco
ON JUNE 29 the Stars' break with their past was finally complete. That was when they told 40-year-old center Mike Modano—whose 20 years with the franchise (going back to its seasons in Minnesota) included a Stanley Cup win in 1999—that they wouldn't be offering him a contract. For good measure the Stars also chose not to re-sign goaltender Marty Turco, who never had a losing record in nine seasons with the club.
The loss of two cornerstone players, says coach Marc Crawford, was a big step toward refashioning a team that has missed the playoffs two straight years. "With those big personalities in your locker room, it's so easy for other people to defer to them," he says. "I think [now] we're going to see a lot of growth from our younger group."
The Stars retain a core of seasoned veterans, with captain Brenden Morrow and leading point scorer Brad Richards (24 goals, 67 assists last season), but it's the group of 25-and-under forwards that Dallas will look to this year. Loui Eriksson, James Neal and Jamie Benn—in their fourth, second and first years, respectively, last season—combined for 78 goals. But a pedestrian defense and unproven goaltending (starter Kari Lehtonen played all of 12 games as Turco's backup a year ago) seems likely to hold the Stars back in the first year of their new era.