Jim Nill has been in Dallas for a little over one year now. He took over the position from Joe Nieuwendyk, who all in all did a pretty decent job. Nieuwendyk is the man who laid out the future of this franchise and honestly I think if we gave him some more time, he would of lead this team into the playoffs. He finished his 2012-2013 campaign and was fired from his duties as the general manager. Dallas couldn't pass up the thought of having Jim Nill as their new GM. He was a proven success, he was behind all of the great Detroit Red Wing teams that Stars fans hated. He came to Dallas with a plan. That plan has now come to the center stage.
Immediately after Jim Nill was hired he let go of coach Glen Gulutzan and brought in the long time Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff, again a proven winner. The two of them have been the masterminds behind this team. They seem to work together as friends and colleagues. The relationship between the coach, the GM, and the owner is something I have never seen, they all know what they're doing, and they all want the same thing. There is something about that, it just makes this team better.
After the Ruff signing Jim Nill took his sights to finding the Stars top line center and boy did he succeed. Jim Nill brought in the Boston Bruins "party animal" Tyler Seguin along with Rich Perverley. He knew he would have to give something up for these two players, he decided to put in long time Star Loui Eriksson and upcoming prospect Reilly Smith. The two of them had decent years, Reilly Smith took huge strides as a point producer, and Loui was injured, but still played his game. On the Stars side of things, Tyler Seguin became this teams leader in a lot of offensive categories. He finished 4th in NHL scoring and he also took newly named Stars captain Jamie Benn's game to a new level. I could write a lot more about Mr. Seguin, but I'm sure you all know what he has done for this franchise. Rich Peverley brought something this team has lacked, a high faceoff percentage. He could play in all spots and I think he played the best with Benn and Seguin. For some reason he had the best chemistry with them, over Valeri Nichushkin and Chiasson.
The season began and Dallas took strides and showed glimpses of what they could be, they lacked depth scoring, and that was noticeable. They played like a young fast team and showed their strengths, as well as their weaknesses. Players made huge strides in the organization such as, Jordie Benn, Colton Sceviour, Antoine Roussel, Ryan Garbutt, and many others. They showed how this team has picked the right players throughout all their bubble years. Joe Nieuwendyk knew what he was doing, he picked the right players, and assembled a pretty good team. All in all this team did its job, they made the playoffs for the first time in 5 years, something Nieuwendyk couldn't do. They played a strong series against Anaheim, but they lacked scoring depth, Benn and Seguin were always up against Perry and Getzlaf, and no one else could produce. Seguin only scored once and the team was getting burned on the defensive side of things as well. The thing that kept this team alive through six games was their fearless attitude and their speed. They showed the league that they were on the rise. Something Jim Nill knew he could use when signing free agents.
The Stars ended their 2014 campaign on a good note, making the playoffs. Jim Nill was going to make sure that this team was going to take that season and build on it. He drafted 7 defensemen in the 2014 draft. Stocking up on young talented players is something Nill is a big fan of. Then right before the gates opened for the "Free Agent Frenzy" he traded for Jason Spezza, the Ottawa Senators captain. 364 days ago today, he acquired Tyler Seguin, and now he had what the team lacked last season, 2nd line scoring. He had already done enough for this team to build off of its 2014 campaign, but then he went out and made another move, something he had been planing for a few weeks, he signed Ales Hemsky, a speed demon, who he thought would compliment Benn and Seguin's game nicely. This team just made itself a contender, in just over a year of the Jim Nill era he has taken this team from a bubble team to a Stanley Cup contender, as mythical as it sounds, he has done it.
Now it is this teams turn to make him look like a genius. Lindy Ruff and his staff has a lot of work to get to, he has to assemble this team, he has to find out who fits where, as well as who is ready to make the jump into the NHL. He's got a few months to do all of this, I think that's just enough time for him.
Now this teams moves are not over, I'd expect Cole, Gonchar, or Horcoff's names to be gone by the 2014-2015 season. Here's what I'm expecting.
2014-2015 Mock Lineup
Benn - Seguin - Hemsky
Nichushkin - Spezza - Ritchie
Garbutt - Eakin - Roussel
Horcoff - Fiddler - Sceviour
Daley - Goligoski
Dillon - Nemeth
Benn - Oleksiak
I'm assuming in this lineup that Nill finds a way to get rid of Gonchar and Cole. Gonchar is well Gonchar and I don't see a spot for Cole, I'd assume they would trade them for draft picks in a stacked 2015 draft. Another season is beginning in Big D, hopefully a season we haven't seen for quite sometime. I hope everyone enjoys their holiday! Go Stars!