When Dan Ellis was preparing to hit the free agent market in early July he knew where he wanted to sign. At the top of his list was the Dallas Stars, the team that gave him his start in pro hockey.
“It was the No. 1 place. As soon as I became a free agent I looked around the league at places that might have possible openings, and this was by far the No. 1 place I wanted to come back to,” Ellis said. “Once you’ve been the Dallas organization, and you go around to other places, it’s hard to reach that level of quality and that level of professionalism. To come back, it was just a really easy choice. I was just glad that they chose me to come back.”
The Stars drafted Ellis in the second round of the 2000 NHL Draft. He played four seasons in the Stars organization, all of it in the minor leagues except for a 4-3 victory over the Los Angeles Kings in his NHL debut on February 18, 2004. He left as a free agent in 2007 and went on to play 183 more NHL games for Nashville, Tampa Bay, Anaheim and Carolina.
A lot has changed with the Stars since Ellis left, but there are still some familiar faces and that makes coming back that much easier.
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