Monday, March 10, 2014
I do not have an answer to that question. It's impossible to quantify my "favorite." Of course I loved Neal Broten, Dino Ciccarelli, Bobby Smith, and Mike Modano. They were the superstars when I was a kid, and the "best" players we had. I'm too young to have actually seen Goldsworthy or Gump play, so it feels disingenuous to say one of them could by my "favorite" (just like how I can't justify calling Oliva or Killebrew my favorite Twin or Page my favorite Viking). And I've had the privilege of becoming good friends with Brad Maxwell, as well as getting to know some other ex-North Stars like Tom Younghans and Dan Mandich. They're great guys, but because I know them personally, it feels a bit biased to say they're my "favorites."
Stew Gavin, though... he's definitely on the list. A slightly more obscure player who is on my list because he was an ultimate team player. He was, in many ways, the heart and soul of the 1991 Cinderella run to the Stanley Cup Finals.
Gavin was an outstanding defensive forward who placed in the Selke Trophy voting four times during his career. He wore the alternate captain's "A" for most of his North Stars tenure. When the North Stars drafted Mike Modano first overall, Gavin was given the task of showing him the ropes as his first roommate. And he was arguably the most valuable player during that magical run to the 1991 Stanley Cup Finals. After scoring just eight points in 38 regular season games, he notched 13 in 21 playoff games. More importantly, he and his line shut down the most explosive offenses in the Campbell Conference. In the first round, they he shut down Jeremy Roenick and the Blackhawks. In the second round, he shut down Hull & Oates of the Blues. And in the conference finals, he shut down Mark Messier and the Oilers.
Plus he had a killer playoff beard.