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Features

Ralph Strangis: Right GM, Right Time

Monday, 04.29.2013 / 6:36 PM / 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.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 NSH 62 41 14 7 188 147 89
2 ANA 62 38 17 7 182 174 83
3 STL 61 39 18 4 190 152 82
4 CHI 62 37 20 5 183 146 79
5 WPG 63 31 20 12 174 170 74
6 VAN 61 35 23 3 174 162 73
7 MIN 61 32 22 7 173 160 71
8 LAK 60 29 19 12 162 153 70
9 CGY 61 33 24 4 174 158 70
10 SJS 62 30 24 8 173 177 68
11 DAL 61 27 25 9 191 202 63
12 COL 61 26 24 11 161 175 63
13 ARI 62 20 35 7 137 210 47
14 EDM 62 18 34 10 142 206 46

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Benn 61 23 37 -1 60
T. Seguin 55 29 30 0 59
J. Spezza 61 14 37 -3 51
E. Cole 56 18 14 4 32
J. Klingberg 47 10 22 4 32
T. Daley 58 16 15 -11 31
A. Hemsky 55 9 17 -7 26
A. Goligoski 61 2 24 4 26
C. Eakin 58 12 13 -3 25
A. Roussel 59 11 11 -11 22
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
K. Lehtonen 25 13 9 .906 2.96
J. Enroth 13 24 2 .900 3.31
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