In Mike Modano's last home game as a Dallas star, he gave the crowd a storybook ending. Modano assisted on the first goal, scored the game-tying goal with under two minutes to play in the game and scored the decisive goal in the shootout on Jonas Hiller. Everything appeared as if it were the proper ending fro Modano's NHL career the next game as he played his final game in a Dallas Stars jersey in the state of Minnesota, everything coming full circle.
But Mo's not done yet, and nor should he be. He's got gas left in the tank, goals yet to be scored and players yet to mentor.
As soon as the Stars announced they would not pursue a contract for Modano, notions of him coming back to play for the hometown team in Detroit let loose. Much to the dismay of Stars fans everywhere, those notions started to become more of a reality as the Red Wings began to seriously court Modano for his services. Detroit fans began to change they're sentences from "if we get Modano..." to "when we get Modano..." while worrying over what number Mo would wear in Detroit.
All of that is starting to look a little less secure at the moment though as two new teams have emerged in the Mike Modano sweepstakes. Reports are surfacing that both the San Jose Sharks and the Minnesota Wild are in the mix for Modano. Would he take those offers over a stint in Detroit?
Minnesota offers Modano a bit of nostalgia as he would go back to the state where he played his first four years and began the path to become the highest scoring American born player in NHL history. Minnesota is in the worst shape of the three candidates in terms of hopes for getting another ring as there's no core in place that emerges as a potential playoff contender. Mikko Koivu, Andrew Brunette and Guillaume Latendresse are the biggest assets Minnesota has but is it enough for Modano to consider them for any other reason than going back to where it started?
San Jose, however, offers him practically the same chance for success and another shot at the Stanley Cup that Detroit would. San Jose has a solid lineup despite replacing Evgeni Nabokov and having Rob Blake retire. Modano has no emotional or loyalty tie to San Jose like that of Minnesota or Detroit so that might be something that he considers in when it comes down to making the decision.
Now as Modano heads towards a decision he has more to consider than originally thought. There's also still a chance that Modano could retire but for our purposes we'll assume he will pursue another year in the NHL considering his inclination to continue talking to teams. If Modano says "no", where do the Red Wings go from there?
They could easily stay within their own organization to fill that roster spot that Modano would have filled and that would keep either Miller or Draper in the line-up, assuming Abdelkader and Helm re-sign. They could go outside of the organization and consider a guy like Arron Asham or Evgeny Artyukhin to fill that grinder/tough-guy forward position that they are looking for. Or, they could use the money to secure a 6th/7th defenseman and keep a bit of cap space heading into the season.
If Modano heads for retirement or decides to play for a team other than the Red Wings, what would you do as GM Ken Holland?