The Dallas Stars will officially announce Jim Nill as the new general manager at 11 am CT during a press conference at the American Airlines Center, which can be heard live on 1310 The Ticket. As the newest Stars GM is announced, it's important to take a look at the man who will be taking over the reins of the Stars in a very critical juncture for the franchise.
Jim Nill was drafted in the sixth round (but No. 89 overall) by the St. Louis Blues in 1978. A feisty right handed winger, Nill was a high scoring pugilist for the Medicine Hat Tigers -- putting up 93 points and 252 PIM in 72 games -- before finally making his NHL debut for the Blues in 1981. Nill would eventually play for five separate NHL teams in his career, including the Canucks, Bruins, Jets and Red Wings, before retiring in 1991.
A hard hitting and hard nosed winger, Nill was mostly a role player during his time in the NHL and finished with 58 goals, 145 points and 854 penalty minutes in 524 career games in the NHL.
After retiring as a player, Nill quickly went from amateur scout to professional scout with the Ottawa Senators before moving on to the Red Wings in 1994. With Detroit, Nill quickly rose up the ranks of the scouting department and has been the Red Wings vice president and assistant general manager for the better part of the last 15 years.
Stars fans are incredibly familiar with the success of the Red Wings during Nill's tenure in Detroit; despite never having the top picks most deem necessary for truly building contenders, the Red Wings have maintained a high level of success through smart drafting and patient player development under the guidance of Nill. Also serving as the general manager of the Adirondack Red Wings as well as overseeing the Grand Rapids Griffons, Nill has shown capable of guiding and building successful hockey programs in the past.
For some insight into Nill, I turned to J.J. from Winging It In Motown, who was very succinct in his analysis of Nill's time in Detroit.
Honestly, there's not a lot I can say about Nill that the Red Wings being the best team in hockey throughout his tenure with them doesn't already say. Nill's a savvy professional with an eye for talent and an ability to make a plan to which he can stick. Dallas is getting a great GM out of this and Detroit is losing a hell of a guy.
This seems to be the general consensus from fans in Detroit, backed up by the national view that Nill was the top GM candidate in the NHL, should he become available. Nill has been instrumental in an incredibly successful hockey franchise and one can only hope that he will bring that same level of expected success with him to Dallas.
As has been stated several times in the past few days, this move seems more about the chance to hire Jim Nill that it really was about Nieuwendyk. Getting Nill to leave Detroit has been incredibly difficult for other franchises in the past, with Nill passing on the Montreal Canadiens job just last summer.
It's unknown exactly what approach Nill will bring to this franchise and what sort of team he wants to build. Will Nill want to build the Stars under the same mold as the Detroit Red Wings and more importantly, what pieces already here does he feel fit the vision he has for the Stars? This is his ship to run now, and while it's tough to see Nieuwendyk moving on there is certainly a high level of excitement about what the future will bring.