Mike Modano to play with Red Wings

Updated: August 5, 2010, 10:43 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

DETROIT -- Mike Modano wanted to prove there's still a spot for him in the NHL.

The Detroit Red Wings are giving him a chance, agreeing to terms on a one-year contract Thursday.

"I just thought about it and decided I wanted to play again," Modano told ESPNDallas.com's Richard Durrett from Scotland on Thursday. "I had to figure out if I wanted to do everything again and I decided I wanted to. If it's like it was in 1999 and the 2000s in Dallas, it would be fun and it sounds like it's been that way there for a while now."

Red Wings general manager Ken Holland was excited to add the 40-year-old.

"I think it's going to be a great fit for him and for us," he told The Associated Press. "There's not going to be pressure on him to carry the team."

Modano is expected to be on Detroit's third line with Jiri Hudler and Dan Cleary.

He has 557 goals and 1,359 points in his career but is coming off his lowest-scoring season since 1995. He had 14 goals and 30 points in 59 games, fading to being a fourth-line center in Dallas.

"His role was diminishing in Dallas and sometimes that's hard to accept as a player," Holland said. "We think he can still skate and contribute. Mike Babcock and I met with him after he became a free agent July 1 and told him he wanted him to be a No. 3 centerman with a chance to grow into a bigger role.

"I think it will energize for him to come home, where his parents still live, and it'll be great for us to have one of the greatest American players ever," he said.

The Livonia, Mich., native has the most points by an NHL player born in the United States. He was drafted No. 1 overall by the Minnesota North Stars and had a stellar rookie season two years later. Modano is not sure if this will be his last year, but his parents are happy he's home.

"If this is my last year, they'd get to see me play in more games," Modano told ESPNDallas.com. "I don't know if this is it. I don't have to think about that for another year."

The eight-time All-Star led the Dallas Stars to the Stanley Cup title in 1999. He played in the Olympics three times and helped the Americans win silver in 2002.

After Modano played 20 seasons for the Minnesota-Dallas franchise, Stars general manager Joe Nieuwendyk -- Modano's friend and former teammate -- decided not to re-sign him. Modano has said it didn't seem right to play for another team but wanted to try.

"I think that it does give me a little fire inside to go out play somewhere and really have a great going-out year," Modano said in June at a news conference.

The Red Wings gave him weeks to ponder his next move and he made a decision earlier this week while playing golf in Scotland with some friends in the league.

The Minnesota Wild and San Jose Sharks wanted Modano, too, but he was swayed by talking to Brett Hull along with other former and current Red Wings.

Dallas' home opener is Oct. 14 against Modano and the Red Wings.

"It will be pretty neat to play in Dallas at the start of the season," Modano said. "I'm not sure what to expect. It's going to be strange, staying in a hotel in Dallas, skating out from the corner, walking past our dressing room. But it should be cool too."

Modano's jersey with a winged wheel will not be No. 9 -- the number he's worn -- because was retired by the team long ago to honor Hall of Famer Gordie Howe.

"I've worn No. 9 since I was about 9, but I wasn't about to ask Gordie to take his number out of the rafters for me," Modano told the AP. "I'm going to wear No. 90 for the Wings."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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