Modano: 'Not in the scheme' for Stars

DALLAS -- Veteran free agent Mike Modano said he's going to wait until at least July before deciding on his future, but he sounds like a player who doesn't expect to return to the Dallas Stars.

"The more and more I look at the situation here, I come to believe I'm not in the scheme of things here," Modano said Monday. "If I had to play, I may have to look at going elsewhere."

Said Stars general manager Joe Niewendyk: "There's an open dialogue with Mike, and we talk all the time. We've had several talks since the season ended."

NHL free agency begins on July 1. At that point, Modano will see what kind of interest other teams have in him. But he hasn't decided if he wants to play for anybody but the Stars' organization, which whom he has spent all 20 seasons -- 16 in Dallas, four in Minnesota.

"It depends what kind of interest and what teams," Modano said. "I'd probably take two or three weeks in that month and see who comes calling and if there's connection with those teams that call. I'd want to play for a competitive team, someone that might have a legitimate shot at it."

Modano, who has 557 goals and 802 assists in his career, also said how he's used on the ice would factor into his decision.

"It depends on who I'd play with and who I feel I can make some plays and make decisions with on the ice," Modano said. "I just need help as far as quickness and pace of the game now. You can't make it work the way you used to with any given linemate. You need help now."

Modano said he's continued his offseason workouts as if he's playing, which was his plan even before the season ended.

"You always feel you can still play," Modano said. "I'm working out like I'm going to play. If I do get an opportunity to do something, I'd be ready. If not, I'll come to the end of July and say, 'That's it.' "

Modano acknowledged that it's "never the same," for athletes that leave a longtime team and go somewhere else.

"It never seems to be a fit," he said. "[Brett] Favre is the only one I can think of in the last half-dozen or so years that it worked out. That's why it would depend on who's on the team, who the coach is, do I have a relationship with guys on the team. You have to go to a good, challenging, competitive team."

Stars vice president Brett Hull, who was a teammate of Modano's when the Stars won the Stanley Cup in the 1998-99 season, believes Modano should return.

"I think you'd be crazy not to look at the endless possibilities Mike gives a team," Hull said Monday on ESPN 103.3 FM's Lunch with a Legend. "He can fill in or even play on your top-two offensive lines. He's one of the most intelligent players. I don't see how any team wouldn't want him. I think he's crazy to quit, whether it's here or another team."

Richard Durrett covers the Stars for ESPNDallas.com. You can follow him on Twitter or leave a question for his weekly mailbag.