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Former Wings assistant GM Jim Nill’s very busy reshuffling the Dallas Stars’ coaching deck

As we wait for the Red Wings' Friday practice to begin, the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner penned a superb article about Tomas Tatar's role with the Grand Rapids Griffins, and Deadline Detroit's Rebecca Powers profiled Fox Sports Detroit analyst Darren Eliot, but a short interview Dallas Stars GM and former Red Wings assistant GM Jim Nill gave to the Fan 590's Bob McCown and John Shannon caught my eye (or ear, as it were):



I was particulaly ill and out of the loop when the Wings allowed the Stars to take Nill, and while his interview mostly involves finding a replacement for Glen Gulutzan (the Grand Rapids Press's Wallner wonders whether former Grifins coach Curt Fraser might get a nod, and the Dallas News's Mike Heika wonders whether Nill will try to swipe associate coach Tom Renney from Detroit)...

The magintude of Nill's departure can't be understated. The Wings have more or less been waiting for Nill's family situation (kids in college and Mrs. Nill battling breast cancer) to stabilize before bidding him a fond farewell, so the fact that capologist Ryan Martin has essentially served as the other assistant GM, the fact that the special assistant to Ken Holland in one Kris Draper (who spoke with WBBL about the Wings-Ducks series prior to Game 6) has been groomed to take a bigger role and the fact that Jiri Fischer (director of player development), Chris Chelios (de-facto Grand Rapids Griffins assistant coach), Chris Osgood (goalie coach and scout) and Kirk Maltby (pro scout) are all helping management allows the team to better withstand the blow that is Nill's departure...

But the Wings also somewhat bafflingly allowed Nill to leave the organization in late April despite the fact that Nill made the final decisions at the draft and despite the fact that Nill worked to build the Grand Rapids Griffins' roster over the past two seasons...So to hear Nill speak about being immersed in his new job already is a little startling, and it reminds us that the Wings are engaging in changing of the guard and/or youth movements (relatively speaking) both on and off the ice.

Nill's gone and busy in his new position, and while the Wings continue to attempt to "rebuild on the fly," there are some legitimate questions as to who will be tapped on the shoulder to take leadership roles as the team finds Nill's successor from somewhere within the organization.

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“...the Wings somewhat baffling allowed Nill to leave the organization…” 

You actually wrote that?

Posted by Rsambo00 on 05/17/13 at 11:43 AM ET

SuperMatt75's avatar

You actually wrote that?

Posted by Rsambo00 on 05/17/13 at 11:43 AM ET

You’re being a bit disingenuous here, without quoting the next few words words:

...to leave the organization in late April…

George makes a valid point:  Why would the Wings let Nill leave in late April, rather than after the playoffs, or even after the draft?

Probably because they’s staying classy, San Diego style.

Posted by SuperMatt75 from the cool side of the pillow on 05/17/13 at 12:03 PM ET

Heaton's avatar

Probably because it’s a conflict of interest.  Why would Jim Nill or the Wings want to have him run the draft if he’ll be leaving the organization?

Posted by Heaton on 05/17/13 at 12:40 PM ET


My point is that to consider it “baffling” that the Wings let him leave for a GM job when he was finally ready and able to move on is pathetic. It would have been crazy if they said no! 

“Jim, thanks for decades of hard work but even though you have the job you’ve always wanted lined up and your family approves, we still need you for the draft.”

Posted by Rsambo00 on 05/17/13 at 12:44 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

What baffles me is that they let him go without—as far as I know—restrictions regarding his actions at the draft.

Believe me, the Wings have talked about Jim Nill leaving for a long time now, and the team’s happy for him.

But save the Wings’ final end-of-season and pre-draft powwows with the pro and amateur scouts, Nill’s been following the prospects the Wings want to draft, and if he wants to go after each and every one of the Wings’ targets, he can do so.

More often than not, when an assistant GM or GM leaves one team to join another, he’s asked to recuse himself from the draft table for the sake of his previous employer being allowed to pick the players that the now-opposing-team’s GM knows his previous employer wanted to pick.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 05/17/13 at 01:01 PM ET

socalwingnut's avatar

It’s a good point when consider that Nill knows the entire strategy for THIS year and Detroit essentially let another team inside their private meetings from the past several months, let alone the past several years. Granted, the overall club philosophy cannot be protected, but this year’s plans and draft strategy are important to Detroit in what has become essentially a rebuilding year.

Even if Nill recuses himself from the draft table (not very likely), he’s already met with the scouting and executive staff so his mere lack of presence at the table would be symbolic at best. Not to mention that even if he wasn’t there in person, he’s a text or cell phone call away.

Dallas is a desperate franchise and needs to turn their fortunes around in a hurry. You can bet that Jim Nill wants to start on that right away.

Posted by socalwingnut on 05/17/13 at 01:49 PM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.