by PuckStopsHere on 05/01/13 at 01:31 AM ET
One significant story I haven't written about yet that occurred at the end of the regular season is the change in general managers in Dallas. Joe Nieuwendyk was fired. He was hired in 2009 and never managed to qualify for the playoffs. He was a prime example of a star player who was rushed into a position above his qualifications and struggled there. In fact when he was hired I wrote:
Joe Nieuwendyk will be the next GM of the Dallas Stars. He has a relatively short resume, which is common for an NHL star who gets that position. It is also common for somebody who was on the fast track to become an NHL executive as an ex-NHL star to never become a great NHL GM. That would not be a good thing for the Dallas Stars if Nieuwendyk follows that likely path.
That pretty much captured Nieuwendyk's reign as GM. He wasn't a great GM and he didn't have any real success with the Dallas Stars. Perhaps it was a learning experience and Nieuwendyk is now qualified to be an NHL GM if he ever gets a second chance.
Dallas is likely on the right track now with the signing of their new GM Jim Nill.
Nill has been working with the Detroit Red Wing organization since 1994. Previously he had been a scout for the Ottawa Senators since 1991. With Detroit was GM of their AHL affiliate in Adirondack, he ran drafts and amateur scouting. During his tenure, Detroit won four Stanley Cups and he is seen as a key builder of the last couple of winning teams. Jim Nill is probably the best qualified potential general manager who has never actually held an NHL GM role. Unlike a star player like Joe Nieuwendyk he slowly worked his way up the ranks and learned the skills necessary without being fast-tracked due to his NHL playing success. NHL playing success is a different skillset from managing a team and it rarely works out when a former player is given a general manager position because of his playing career. That hasn't happened with Jim Nill. He is a former player but he wasn't a star player and he had to work his way up the ranks and has over twenty years of successful experience to take to his GM position.
The Dallas Stars are probably on the right track with a general manager who has learned the skills to succeed in the position. Jim Nill should be a big improvement over Joe Nieuwendyk. As long as ownership can stay out of the way and let Nill build a successful franchise, this should be a turning point in Dallas. Nill will probably be a successful GM. Obviously nothing is a given in hockey but he has learned the management game the right way to succeed.
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