Murphy's Law: Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. Example: the 2008-09 Dallas Stars.
After coming within two wins of advancing to the Stanley Cup Final in 2007-08, the Stars followed it up with a disappointing campaign that saw them banish their big offseason pick-up because he didn't have a filter between his brain and his mouth, while key contributor after key contributor was lost to injury. Sometimes, more than once. On the plus side? Psychological reviews for all!
One of the players lost for a significant portion of the season was team captain, Brenden Morrow. Coming off a 32-goal season, Morrow was off to another strong start for the Stars, recording five goals and 10 assists in the first 18 games of the season. In a 6-3 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks, a game that Morrow scored in, he suffered a torn ACL late in the third period, knocking him out of the lineup for the remainder of the season.
The Stars never really recovered from the loss of Morrow (and Brad Richards and Sergei Zubov, among others) and missed the playoffs for just the third time since moving to Dallas in 1993.
Draft Year: 1997
As owners of the No. 25 overall pick in 1997, the next-to-last selection in the first round, Dallas selected Morrow from Portland of the Western Hockey League, sandwiched between New Jersey's pick of goaltender Jean-Francois Damphouse and Colorado's Kevin Grimes. Only five players taken that year have scored more goals than Morrow's 173. In a draft that was relatively top-heavy, Morrow has been a steal for the Stars. He's the only player selected in the second half of the first round that's scored at least 100 goals,
Why He's On My List
Even though he's missed significant time in two of the past three seasons due to injury, I see him as being in a similar position to Shane Doan, the No. 50 player on my list; a somewhat underrated captain that has proven to be one of the better two-way forwards in the league without much recognition (never playing in the All-Star game, for example).
Since the lockout, Morrow has averaged just a under a point-per-game for the Stars (.837 to be exact) and has been one of the most physical forwards in the league, finishing second (behind only Los Angeles' Dustin Brown) with 260 hits a year ago. During Dallas' playoff run that same season, he was one of the best players in the postseason, scoring nine goals in 18 games, including a pair of overtime winners in the second round against the San Jose Sharks. He's a legitimate top-line power forward capable of scoring close to 30 goals when healthy.
Obligatory YouTube Video
In the fourth overtime of Game 6 of the 2008 Western Conference Semifinals, Morrow sends the Stars to the conference finals when he directs a shot behind San Jose goalie Evgeni Nabokov.