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Ralph Strangis: Right GM, Right Time

Monday, 04.29.2013 / 5:36 PM CT / Feature
By Ralph Strangis
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Ralph Strangis: Right GM, Right Time

Full disclosure: No one is a bigger Joe Nieuwendyk fan than I am. To you he needs no reintroduction here. As the 1999 Conn Smythe trophy winner he was a huge reason why we won. As the victim of Bryan Marchment’s 1998 opening round dirty hit he was the biggest reason we lost. And as the guy who stood up for a Stars cub PR kid who was being mauled by impatient reporters in a 2000 playoff post-game media scrum he was always the good teammate for all of us. I count Joe among my best friends in hockey and life.

As Dallas Stars GM over the last four seasons few would argue he had special and unique challenges. He never gave that crutch a glance. He made difficult and unpopular decisions and yes, he learned on the job. There are victories to claim and mistakes to regret but he won’t give either the time of day. He is a thoughtful man who operated with no other agenda than how to make his team better, how to get them back on top. He was appreciative of the opportunity especially after a new owner came in and kept him on.

But the business demands results and the results weren’t there.

Tom Gaglardi thanked Joe for his service this morning and said “he left this franchise in a better place than where he found it.” The organization is deeper than it’s been in years and possesses enviable prospects and a big bag of picks for the coming draft for his successor.

And the Dallas Stars have just fired an ear-splitting cannon shot to open the NHL’s off-season. The new Dallas Stars GM, Jim Nill, is a coup for Tom Gaglardi and Jim Lites. Nill has been courted and romanced over the years and is on every teams very short wish list. He’s waited for the right opportunity and it came and he grabbed it, citing the good gut feeling he got when meeting with the Stars owner and president. It says a lot about Tom Gaglardi and Jim Lites that they were able to coax him here.

The Detroit Red Wings are the NHL’s gold standard for the last two decades. Nobody scouts better, develops better, and picks the right guys to pay better. In fact, every player on the ice in the finale against Dallas were guys they either drafted or signed as undrafted free agents (note: they had a couple guys on the roster and one on the ice they reacquired but whom they had originally drafted and a couple of injured players who were acquired or signed but you get the point).

Jim Nill is the guy: make no mistake about it. This hire affirmsTom Gaglardi’s commitment to this team. Jim Nill is exactly the right GM at precisely the right time. His work with Wings amateur scouts and young players over the years has produced one-of-a-kind results. He learned from the very best, was surrounded by the very best, and will bring his very best to Dallas.

I’ve been around for all of our biggest days. Be excited – spread the word – this is a very big day for the Dallas Stars.

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STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 CHI 55 35 16 4 153 127 74
2 DAL 52 33 14 5 169 137 71
3 STL 54 29 17 8 128 128 66
4 LAK 51 31 17 3 135 117 65
5 SJS 50 27 19 4 145 132 58
6 COL 54 27 23 4 146 148 58
7 NSH 52 24 20 8 130 137 56
8 ANA 49 24 18 7 106 113 55
9 MIN 51 23 19 9 126 122 55
10 ARI 51 24 21 6 136 156 54
11 VAN 51 20 19 12 119 138 52
12 CGY 49 22 24 3 129 145 47
13 WPG 50 22 25 3 129 143 47
14 EDM 52 21 26 5 130 151 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Benn 52 28 30 16 58
T. Seguin 52 27 28 12 55
J. Klingberg 52 8 35 17 43
J. Spezza 52 18 22 5 40
P. Sharp 52 16 24 -1 40
C. Eakin 52 10 13 2 23
A. Goligoski 52 3 20 20 23
M. Janmark 52 10 9 13 19
A. Roussel 50 8 10 6 18
V. Nichushkin 49 6 12 8 18
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Niemi 20 9 5 .910 2.46
K. Lehtonen 13 5 0 .908 2.82
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