Perhaps one of the most infamous on-ice occurrences in Dallas Stars history happened on January 4, 2007, in Edmonton, Alberta.
Patrik Štefan looked to salt away the game between the Stars and Edmonton Oilers with a breakaway against an empty net. He missed and the Oilers came back to tie the game in one of the wildest blunders in NHL history.
What if you were told that because of his missed empty net, the Chicago Blackhawks got Patrick Kane? This is exactly what happened.
Kane has been a thorn in the sides of Stars fans ever since he joined the league and is one of the top 100 NHL players of all time.
Let’s slow this down. The “Butterfly Theory” comes into play here and to summarize this theory if you go back in time and kill a butterfly, the entire course of history changes. That’s what happened on January 4, 2007. In a game where the Stars led 5-4 with 12 seconds left, Štefan had a wide-open net with no one around. The puck bounced over his stick and he flung it back to the Oilers. With barely any time left, they stormed up the ice, and Ales Hemsky deked around Marty Turco to tie the game with 2 seconds left. Although the Stars won in a shootout, that extra point for the Oilers was critical.
Both the Blackhawks and Oilers finished the 2006-2007 season with 71 points while the Oilers held the tiebreaker. The Oilers finished 6th last and the Blackhawks 5th last. With an 8.1% chance of winning the draft lottery, the Blackhawks got it and received the first overall pick in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, which turned out to be Kane. Had the Oilers not getting that extra point, then they would have finished 5th with 70 points and gotten Kane instead of Sam Gagner.
Kane was a critical element in securing the Blackhawks dynasty with 3 Stanley Cups in 2010, 2013, and 2015.
He will go down as one of the greatest American-born goal scorers in the NHL. Kane even scored the Stanley Cup-winning goal in overtime of Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Philadelphia Flyers.
The ripple effect of Štefan’s empty-net affected the Stars much more than just an embarrassing moment, it allowed Kane to go on a tear against them. Kane has recorded 61 points in 51 games against the Stars.
This incident became so universally panned that Štefan never played again in the NHL after the conclusion of the 2007 season. He was the first overall pick in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft and is widely considered as one of the biggest draft busts.
If the Oilers had a time machine, they too would go back to this moment and make it so that Štefan scored in the empty net. With their history of 4 first overall picks this past decade, maybe their luck would change. The Oilers currently have 28 playoff wins since 2000, the same as the Vegas Golden Knights who became a franchise in 2017.
It’s only fitting the Stars intertwined themselves into the fate of one of the most recent NHL dynasties and inserted misfortune into the miseries of their old playoff rivals in the Oilers.
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