One thing that’s a bit frustrating about the NHL is that a lot of weight is attached to well-known names.
It seems that a lot of GMs look at names rather than stats before they make a move.
How else to explain all of the interest in Mike Modano, he of the 14 goals and 16 assists in 59 games last season.
The Wild might be interested because of Modano’s connections to the Minnesota North Stars, who drafted him back in 1988. Signing Modano would be a homecoming of sorts, although the North Stars moved to Dallas, so Modano would be coming home to a franchise completely unrelated to the one that drafted him.
San Jose likes to keep veteran players around. Grizzled character guys like Jeremy Roenick, Adam Graves, and Rob Blake have all ended their careers as Sharks. Why not add Modano to the list?
But do these teams really want to get involved with a player who just turned 40 last month? And who’s definitely lost a few steps over the past few seasons? If there was a more anonymous player with similar statistics, would there be at least three NHL teams showing interest in him?
Obviously, a guy like Modano brings some intangibles to the table. He’s won a Cup. He’s experienced. He’s a leader. But are those traits worth taking up the roster spot of a player who a team could actually mentor and develop? It’s not like Modano has a long-term NHL career in front of him.
Matt Hendricks is 29. He put up nine goals and seven assists in 56 games for the Avs last season. Does he have three teams interested in him? Adam Mair is 31, with six goals and eight assists in 69 games last season. Why is no one kicking his tires?
I get that Modano wants to prove he can still play at the NHL level. He’s an athlete who’s done nothing but compete for the vast majority of his life. I don’t blame him for wanting to keep pushing himself. I just don’t get why NHL GMs are willing to compromise their line-ups for a guy with a declining skill-set but brand-name recognition.
And the takeaway from all of this seems to be that if you want to extend your NHL career as long as humanly possible, make sure you’ve got a huge name. Because if you’re an anonymous player with average to below average numbers, it seems no one will give you a second look.
It’s better to be old and famous than younger and average.