Dreger: Dallas Stars Could Make GM Change, Hire Detroit Red Wings' Jim Nill?

Bruce Bennett

The speculation of sweeping changes is already beginning just hours before the season officially ends as Darren Dreger tweets that Joe Nieuwendyk could be out in favor of Jim Nill.

This evening TSN's Darren Dreger is reporting via Twitter, or speculating, let's say, that the Dallas Stars could be poised to make a change at general manager, possible in favor of Detroit Red Wing Vice President and Assistant General Manager Jim Nill.

Nill has served as assist general manager with the Red Wings for the last 15 years under Ken Holland and could represent a tremendous "get" for Tom Gaglardi is this report has any merit.

This won't be the first time an NHL franchise would have tried to pry such an experienced pupil of Holland away, so the probability of such a move would seem to be in question. It is Dreger reporting, so it must be taken as at least a legitimate possibility at this point.

The Stars are ending their season as I type this in the AAC press box against those same Wings, and will have tomorrow off. Exit interviews could commence as early as Monday or Tuesday morning, and then we'll likely find out if there's any truth in it.

As always we caution you that until it's confirmed anywhere it should be treated merely as rumor. Dreger has this to say regarding Stars head coach Glen Gulutzan.

From Detroit Red Wings.com...

Nill begins his 15th season as assistant general manager of the Red Wings and his 19th season overall as a member of the management team. He currently directs Detroit's amateur scouting department and oversees all selections made at the annual National Hockey League entry draft. Nill's efforts as both the director of player development and assistant general manager have helped contribute to four Stanley Cup championships in Detroit (1997, 1998, 2002 and 2008).

Nill con¬tinues to manage the development of the organization's prospects currently assigned to Detroit's top minor league affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League, as well as those in the junior, European and college ranks. In 2001-02, he supervised Detroit's prospects assigned to Cincinnati of the AHL. Nill also served as the general manager of the Adirondack Red Wings.

Nill, 54, joined the Red Wings' front office in the summer of 1994 following three seasons with the Ottawa Senators. He began his stint with the Senators as an amateur scout and was promoted to pro scout after just two seasons with the team.

Prior to Ottawa, Nill enjoyed a nine-season NHL career as a right wing with the Boston Bruins, Vancouver Canucks, St. Louis Blues, Winnipeg Jets and Red Wings. He spent his final 2 ½ seasons in a Red Wings sweater after being acquired from Winnipeg on January 10, 1988. His NHL numbers include, 58 goals, 87 assists and 854 penalty minutes in 524 regular-season games. Nill later went to Adirondack as a player/coach, retiring as a player after the 1990-91 season.

Such a strike would represent the second time in a year that Gaglardi and company have hired away from the Red Wings franchise after getting Curt Fraser from their minor league system to be an assistant coach. Other names (like Brian Burke) have been thrown around, but nothing so high profile as this Dreger tweet.

Either way, it's safe to think that change, in one form or another, is in the wind as the Stars miss the playoffs for their fifth consecutive season.

Update: Here's a little more from ESPN, who explains that Nill has an out-window in his contract right now that allows him to negotiate a possible departure from Detroit...

Jim Nill, Detroit Red Wings: Now in his 15th season as assistant GM in Detroit, he has been GM material for a long time. And it just so happens that his contract will soon begin to present itself with annual six-week "out windows" when he can entertain GM offers from other teams, a source told ESPN.com. The first window comes this summer. With four Stanley Cup rings and a long list of late-draft gems on his resume, Nill is a top-notch candidate in waiting. It would have to be the right fit for him to leave Detroit, where he's happy and loyal to the Ilitch family, but it's a possibility. You can't go wrong if you name Nill as your GM. He'd be a superstar hire. [ESPN]

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