Top 10 Best Dallas Stars Players of All Time
The Dallas Stars, who played as the Minnesota North Stars from 1967 to 1993, are an NHL team in Dallas, Texas. They’ve made five Stanley Cup Finals appearances: two in Minnesota and three in Dallas, bringing the Cup to Dallas in 1999. Of all the NHLers who played on either the Minnesota North Stars or the Dallas Stars, here are the 10 best of them.
Who Are the Best Dallas Stars Hockey Players of All Time?
- Mike Modano
- Sergei Zubov
- Jamie Benn
- Jere Lehtinen
- Neal Broten
- Dino Ciccarelli
- Marty Turco
- Derian Hatcher
- Brian Bellows
- Ed Belfour
1. Mike Modano
- Most points among U.S.-born NHL players (1,374 points)
- 2014 Hockey Hall of Fame inductee
- 1999 Stanley Cup Champion
Mike Modano is the best player in the history of the Stars franchise. With 561 goals and 1,374 points, the Michigander holds the all-time scoring record among U.S.-born NHL players.
Having seen what he’d done for the Prince Albert Raiders of the WHL, the Minnesota North Stars selected him first overall in 1988. He immediately made an impact, finishing second in Calder Trophy voting, and amassed over 300 points in the four seasons before Minnesota relocated to Dallas. Modano adapted just fine to the warmer climate, posting his second straight 93-point season in the franchise’s first year in Texas. In his 20 seasons with the Stars, Modano set their records for goals, assists, and points.
Modano played a graceful game and could blow past defensemen if given any space to do so. He was such a fast, strong skater that his peers described his jersey as flowing like a cape, which got him the moniker “Superman.”
2. Sergei Zubov
- 1999 Stanley Cup Winner
- 2019 Hockey Hall of Fame inductee
- #56 retired by Stars in 2022
Sergei Zubov is the best Dallas Stars defenseman of all time. He fell into the Stars’ lap in a 1996 trade with the Penguins, just a year after the Penguins acquired him in a trade with the Rangers in 1995, which came just a year after a rookie Zubov was a crucial offensive piece in the Rangers’ 1994 Stanley Cup Win. Two teams in a row cut him loose after he had excellent point totals with them, because they worried that Zubov’s play was too offensively inclined.
His 12 years in Dallas proved that his offensive ability early in his career was no fluke. With 111 goals and 438 assists with the Stars, Zubov is their all-time leading scorer among defensemen. His career total of 771 points also puts him second all-time among Russian defensemen, behind only Sergei Gonchar.
Zubov randomly chose his distinctive #56 in Pittsburgh after getting hurt while wearing #3. He brought it with him to the Stars, won a Cup wearing #56, and since 2022, it’s hung in the rafters in Dallas.
3. Neal Broten
- Two-time All-Star
- Second-most points in Stars franchise history
- First American to score 100 points in a season
- #7 retired by Dallas in 1998
Neal Broten was the Minnesota North Stars’ best player ever. The right wing was synonymous with the state of Minnesota for his whole career. He was born in Roseau in northern Minnesota, played college hockey for the Minnesota Golden Gophers, and had 796 points in 876 games for the North Stars before their relocation to Dallas. In 2009, Minnesotans voted him the best-ever hockey player from their state.
Broten is also a vital part of national hockey history. He played for the USA during the Miracle on Ice, and became the first American-born player to hit 100 points in an NHL season when he scored 105 in 1985-86. He was traded from the Dallas Stars to the Devils in 1995 and had a torrential playoff run, including scoring the series-winning goal in the Stanley Cup Finals.
One of the most curious bits about Broten’s historic career involves a fellow hockey great. Broten dropped the gloves with Wayne Gretzky in 1982, the only fighting major Gretzky was ever assessed. Broten won the fight.
4. Jamie Benn
- Three-time All-Star
- 2014-15 Art Ross Trophy winner
- Stars captain since 2013
Victoria, B.C.-born left winger Jamie Benn has been the face of the modern Stars franchise ever since he was picked late in the 2007 NHL Draft. He’s played over 1000 games, all for Dallas, and became their captain in 2013. What’s even more impressive, considering Benn’s physical play as a power forward, is that he’s only missed 14 games in the last ten years.
His play in the mid-2010s put him in the conversation of the NHL’s elite. Benn’s 87-point 2014-15 season netted him the Art Ross Trophy for most points in the league, in the middle of three straight All-Star seasons. Though he cooled off offensively to play in a third-line role, Benn captained the team to a surprising run to the 2020 Stanley Cup Finals. With a late-career bounceback, Benn seems poised to make more runs toward the Cup. He’s always known and adapted to his role on the team, but no matter what line he’s playing on, he’s always been a leader.
5. Jere Lehtinen
- 1999 Stanley Cup winner
- Three-time Selke Trophy winner
- #26 retired in 2017
Finnish right wing Jere Lehtinen was one of the NHL’s best defensive forwards around the turn of the millennium. He was drafted by the Minnesota North Stars in 1992 but played his entire 14-year career in Dallas after they relocated.
Lehtinen’s world-class defending came from his checking, his anticipation of the play, and especially his physical fitness to do it every shift, every game. He was so consistent, in fact, that he won the Frank J. Selke Trophy, given to the best defensive forward that year, on three separate occasions. One of those wins, in 1999, came in the same year he helped the Stars franchise to their first-ever Stanley Cup championship. He was just as capable in the offensive zone, with 243 goals and 514 points in his 873 NHL games.
His #26 was retired by the club in 2017, and now hangs alongside the #9 of teammate Mike Modano.
6. Dino Ciccarelli
- 2010 Hockey Hall of Fame inductee
- Three-time All-Star with Minnesota North Stars
- 103 points in 1986-87
Dino Ciccarelli began his Hall of Fame career with the Minnesota North Stars. He wasn’t drafted by them, though, but no one else drafted him either. Dino’s 608 career goals are first all-time among undrafted NHL players.
Why were NHL teams so reluctant to pick him? It probably had to do with his size (only 5’10" and under 190 pounds), plus a broken leg he suffered in juniors. But once he broke into the league in 1981, the Sarnia, Ontario-born right wing pushed the North Stars to a Stanley Cup Finals appearance. He continued to make a name for himself as a “pest” who got in the other team’s faces – especially the opposing goalie, since Ciccarelli scored most of his goals from right around the net.
Ciccarelli spent parts of nine years with the North Stars, scoring 651 points in 602 games and making three All-Star teams. He was traded to the Capitals in 1989 and made stops in Detroit, Tampa, and Florida before retiring in 1999.
7. Marty Turco
- Two-time All-Star
- 2003 Vezina Trophy finalist
- Leads Dallas Stars goalies in games played and wins
Marty Turco is the best goalie in Stars history. After the Stars drafted him in the fifth round of the 1994 NHL Draft, the native of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, blossomed into an All-Star goalie for nearby UMich. He had a long and successful pedigree by the time he made his Stars debut in October 2000, over six years after he was drafted.
His play as backup to the legendary Ed Belfour convinced the Stars to let Belfour walk to Toronto in free agency in 2002. The next season, Turco’s first as a starter, he proved that he was not only Dallas’ goalie of the future, but one of the league’s elite netminders. He set an astonishing .932 save percentage in 55 starts, got named as a starter for the 2003 All-Star Game, and finished second in Vezina voting to Marty Brodeur.
Marty Turco was also an excellent puck-handler. His “Turco Grip” put extra strength on his stick and allowed him to maneuver the puck around the other team’s forwards. He set the Stars’ goalies record for games played (509) and wins (262), then became an analyst for the NHL Network in retirement.
8. Derian Hatcher
- 1999 Stanley Cup Champion
- 2003 All-Star and Norris Trophy Finalist
- Stars captain from 1995 to 2003
Michigan-born Derian Hatcher was a 6’5”, 245-pound defenseman who used every inch of his huge frame to punish the other team. Being named the Stars captain at just 22 years old, he was also a locker room leader from the beginning of his career. He and his older brother Kevin, also a big physical threat, played on the same defense for a year and a half, before Kevin was traded to the Penguins for the more offensively skilled Sergei Zubov.
While Zubov was a bigger threat in the offensive zone, Hatcher formed a more physical pairing with 6’3”, 215-pound Richard Matvichuk. That pair’s effectiveness was never more apparent than in the 1999 Conference Finals, when head coach Ken Hitchcock put them out there to wear down Avs superstars like Peter Forsberg. The move worked, with Dallas winning the series in seven, then winning the 1999 Stanley Cup Finals against Buffalo.
9. Brian Bellows
- 1990 All-Star Team selection
- 722 points in 753 North Stars games
- 1,022 points in NHL career
Brian Bellows, a Canadian left wing born in St. Catharine’s, near Niagara Falls, was the North Stars’ most dangerous sniper in the 1980s and early 1990s. He scored 342 goals with the Minnesota North Stars, third in franchise history behind Mike Modano and Jamie Benn, and first among North Stars. When it came to scoring goals, Bellows was remarkably consistent, with three 40-goal seasons in green and gold. His 1989-1990 season stands out among these, with Bellows’ 55 goals tying the franchise record of then-teammate Dino Ciccarelli.
Brian Bellows never played for the Dallas Stars since he was traded to Montréal in 1993, where he scored six goals in 18 playoff games en route to Montréal’s 1993 Stanley Cup championship. Though he never left an imprint in Texas, Bellows was a beloved community figure in Minnesota, doing charity work for the Special Olympics and drug prevention.
10. Ed Belfour
- 1999 Stanley Cup champion
- 1999 William M. Jennings trophy winner (fewest goals allowed by the team)
- 2011 Hockey Hall of Fame inductee
Ed Belfour was a two-time Vezina Trophy winner with the Blackhawks by the time he signed with the Stars for the 1997-1998 season. His career with the Stars only lasted five seasons, but he backstopped them to their greatest sustained success in franchise history.
Dallas knew what they were getting with “Crazy Eddie.” He was a future Hall-of-Fame goalie with a long list of accolades, including an NCAA Championship with North Dakota and an Olympic Gold for Canada, and a short temper.
The Stars won the Presidents Trophy for best regular season team in Belfour’s first two years with the team, and won the Stanley Cup in 1999. They made the Finals again in 2000, though Belfour had a dismal Game 1 performance against eventual champion New Jersey. In vintage Ed Belfour fashion, he blamed his play on the cough syrup he’d been taking for a cold, which shook him off balance for six Devils goals. Also in vintage Ed Belfour fashion, he bounced back with a triple-overtime Game 5 shutout.
- Dave Gagner
- Brett Hull
- Kari Lehtonen
- Esa Lindell
- Richard Matvichuk
- Brenden Morrow
- Steve Payne
- Tyler Seguin
- Bobby Smith
- Mark Tinordi
Who is the best Dallas Stars goalie of all time?
Marty Turco is the best Dallas Stars goalie of all time. He was among the league’s elite netminders since earning the starting role over Hall of Famer Ed Belfour in 2002. Turco leads all Dallas Stars goalies in both starts and wins. A Vezina finalist in 2003, Turco was also one of the best puck-handling goalies in the league. His signature stick grip led him to be called “the smartest goalie in the league” by former analyst Don Cherry.
Who is the best Dallas Stars forward of all time?
Mike Modano is the best Dallas Stars forward of all time. Thanks to his skating speed and grace, the center nicknamed “Superman” has not only the most points of any Dallas Star, but the most points of all U.S.-born players. His 20 seasons for the Stars franchise have enshrined him as a Dallas sports legend, up with the ranks of Emmitt Smith and Dirk Nowitzki.
Who is the best Dallas Stars defensemen of all time?
Sergei Zubov is the best Dallas Stars defenseman of all time. After being traded away from the New York Rangers and the Pittsburgh Penguins, Zubov finally ended up with the Stars, and showed just how underrated he’d been. His 549 points in 12 seasons are first among Dallas defensemen, and second among all Russian-born defensemen. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2019.