Brett Hull opted for winning and money rather than tradition and history Friday, signing a three-year, $17.5-million contract with the Dallas Stars.
Hull went with the Stars, who made it to the NHL's Western Conference finals last season before losing to Detroit in six games, instead of the Chicago Blackhawks, the team with which his Hall-of-Fame father, Bobby Hull, spent much of his career.
"The main thing is to win and to be a champion," Hull, 33, said. "They [the Stars] were as close as anybody to winning a Stanley Cup, and to have them want me to be a part of that . . . is a great honor."
One reason Dallas may have wanted Hull was just to keep him off the opposing team. Hull has terrorized the Stars throughout his career, scoring 62 goals and 101 points against them, more than any other team.
Last season, however, Hull scored 27 goals and 72 points in only 66 games with St. Louis. A broken hand kept him out of 13 games, making 1997-98 his worst goal-scoring season since he joined the league for good during the 1986-87 season.
Hull is the Blues' all-time leader in goals and playoff scoring. In all, the eight-time all-star has 554 goals and 987 points in 13 seasons, 11 of which were spent in St. Louis. He broke into the league in 1985 with the Calgary Flames.
But the injury and drop in scoring last season weren't enough to keep Dallas from thinking it landed the player it needs to win the Stanley Cup.
"It is a big day for the Stars," owner Tom Hicks said. "Some three years ago when I bought the franchise, I promised that we'd take the team to the next level of success."
Dallas convinced Hull to sign when they agreed to put a no-trade clause in his contract, a sticking point between Hull and his former club, St. Louis.
"The final day of discussions [with Dallas] hinged around the no-trade clause," Hull's agent, Mike Barnett said. "That's very important for a veteran player. To Dallas' credit, they gave it to him."
But the Stars weren't the only ones who wanted Hull, the prize offensive weapon in this year's free-agent pool.
Chicago was actually Hull's first choice, according to Barnett. Barnett said he was informed Thursday night by the Blackhawks that Hull was out of their plans because of his asking price.
"In the end, Chicago did what they thought was right," Barnett said. "We respect that.
"At this point [in Hull's career], the Stanley Cup is paramount."
Had Hull gone to Chicago, he would have played for the same team his dad spent 15 seasons skating for. Bobby even agreed to let Brett wear the retired No. 9 jersey he wore as a Blackhawk.
The two of them hold several distinctions, including the only father-son duo to score 50 goals in a season and the only father-son tandem to win the Hart Trophy, awarded to the league's most valuable player. Bobby won it in 1965 and '66, and Brett won it in 1991 after scoring 86 goals.
Those 86 goals are the most by a right winger in league history.
And while the Blackhawks and Blues lost out in acquiring Hull's services, they both made big signings of their own.
The Blackhawks signed veteran free-agent center Doug Gilmour to a multiyear contract, terms of which were not disclosed. The deal is believed, however, to be worth $18 million over three years.
Gilmour scored 13 goals and had 40 assists in 63 games with New Jersey last season.
Chicago went with Gilmour once it dropped out of the Hull sweepstakes.
"It was not possible for us to [sign both Gilmour and Hull]," Blackhawk General Manager Bob Murray said. "We took the guy who's going to help the hockey team the most."
Gilmour, 35, has 381 goals and 795 assists in 1,125 games.
The Blackhawks also announced the signing of 6-foot-3 center Mark Janssens to a multiyear deal.
Janssens, an 11-year veteran, scored five goals and had seven assists with the Mighty Ducks, the New York Islanders and Phoenix last season.
Meanwhile, St. Louis re-signed Geoff Courtnall to a three-year contract. Courtnall's two sons actually sent Blues' management a letter asking them to re-sign the 35-year-old.
The signings mean the Blues went two for four in re-signing big-name free agents, retaining Courtnall and defenseman Al MacInnis, while losing Hull and defenseman Steve Duchesne, to the Kings.
In other NHL news, the Phoenix Coyotes signed defenseman Jyrki Lumme, 31, to a five-year contract.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.