As with any team in the late 90’s and early 2000’s that was chasing the Stanley Cup, there were flurries of transactions that may have gone under the radar. The Dallas Stars are no exception to that rule. Winning a Cup in 1999, and finding themselves in the doldrum in the following years, the Stars have had their fair share of players that time forgot.
Number 5- Sean Avery
Avery signed a four-year contract with the Stars in the summer of 2008, but he wouldn’t even make it through a full season in Dallas. After just 23 games, Avery was suspended for six games for making lewd comments about Dion Phaneuf and Jarret Stoll’s relationships with former girlfriends, and upon his return he was sent to the AHL. In March, he was placed on re-entry waivers and was claimed by the New York Rangers, ending his controversial stint in Dallas.
Number 4- Chris Therien
Best known for his 9-year stint with the Flyers, Therien was moved out of Philadelphia at the 2004 NHL trade deadline as the Flyers wanted to go with other veteran defenseman Vladimir Malakhov, who they acquired the same day. Therien would only play 11 regular season games and five playoff games before he returned to Philadelphia after the 2005 lockout for one final season before he retired in 2006.
Number 3- Mike Smith
Probably best known for his six-season stint with the Phoenix Coyotes, and more recently with the Calgary Flames, Mike Smith’s career started out with the Dallas Stars. Originally drafted 161st overall in 2001 by the Stars, but spending many seasons in the AHL developing. Making his NHL debut in 2006, posting a shutout over the Coyotes, Smith mainly saw time as Marty Turco’s backup. After two seasons on the Stars’ roster, he was dealt to the Tampa Bay Lightning on February 26, 2008, bringing his 44-game stint in Dallas to a close.
Number 2- Martin Rucinsky
After a seven-season stint with the struggling Montreal Canadiens, Martin Rucinsky was traded to the Dallas Stars early in the 2001-02 season. Rucinsky would play most of the season for the Stars, but Dallas found themselves on the outside looking in at a playoff birth, so they dealt Rucinsky at the 2002 trade deadline to the New York Rangers for Manny Malhotra. He ended his short tenure in Dallas with 17 points in 42 games played.
Number 1- Claude Lemieux
The four-time Stanley Cup champion has had famous tenures with the Devils, Avalanche, and Canadiens, but he also found himself playing in Dallas for a bit. Almost 15 years into his legendary career, Lemieux found himself playing for the Coyotes during the 2002-03 season. Not surprisingly, the Coyotes were going to miss the playoffs, so the traded Lemieux to the first-place Dallas Stars in January 2003. His time was largely derailed by injuries, but he still suited up for 32 regular season games, and all six of the Stars’ playoff games. Clearly at the end of his career, he hung up his skates after the 2002-03 season concluded, until a short-lived comeback with the Sharks in 2008.
After becoming a fringe-starter for the Bruins and Leafs between 2002 to 2008, Raycroft saw time as a backup in Colorado and Vancouver before signing a two-year deal with the Stars in the summer of 2010. He was a serviceable backup for Kari Lehtonen during the 2010-11 season, but would lose the backup role to Richard Bachman in 2011-12 and would find himself demoted to the AHL and played the remainder of the season there. He played two more seasons in Europe before he retired, making his time in Dallas the last games of his NHL career.
The younger brother of Pavel is probably best remembered for his tenure with the Calgary Flames. He was coming off an injury riddled season with the Florida Panthers, who were out of a playoff spot, and was dealt to the Dallas Stars at the 2004 trade deadline. He played the rest of the season on a line with Mike Modano, scoring seven points in 13 games. The following season was canceled due to the lockout, and upon the NHL returning, he signed a contract with the LA Kings, but injuries prevented him from ever suiting up for them. He opted to retire at 31 following hip surgery.
By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)
photo credit: texasstars.com