Tomorrow morning, the Joe Nieuwendyk era will officially come to an end in Dallas as the Stars introduce new GM Jim Nill (former assistant GM of the hated Red Wings). The timing was a bit bad—the Stars seemed distracted the entire game, so maybe the leak shocked them as it did the fans—not to mention surprising. Well, it was surprising to me. I thought Joe would be around for another year since he hasn’t had full cap power for a full season at all in his tenure, but Tom Gaglardi thought otherwise.
In Jim Nill, the Stars gain a tremendous GM. He’s experienced, and he’s already scouted for Detroit so he should be very in the know about this year’s draft class. Bonus: teams have been trying to pry him away from Detroit for YEARS. He must have liked what he saw in the Stars if he was willing to leave a place he’s been for almost 19 years. This is really exciting, guys.
Overall, I think Joe did a decent job with what he was given. Situation-wise, he was constantly screwed. This was the first season that he didn’t have salary cap issues, and it was a shortened season. Had it been a full season, perhaps the Stars would have made the playoffs. But we’ll never know. Joe might even have been allowed to finish his contract had Jim Nill turned us down. Who knows?
I have to give mad props to Tom Gaglardi in all of this. He’s being very aggressive and showing himself to be a man with a plan. I like that he’s smart, and I think it bodes well for the team moving forward. He knew he wanted Nill, so he went for it…and here we are.
As for Joe Nieuwendyk, he gained some valuable experience and I expect him to be back as some other team’s GM after taking off a year. Florida and Calgary (two other former JN teams) will more than likely be looking to hire in the near future. Gaglardi did give Joe the option to stay in Dallas in a reassigned role, which is great if a lot awkward (seriously, I knew as soon as we hired him that it would awkward if his stint didn’t work out).
I have a lot of optimism for this team moving forward. I know I’ve said that after every lost season and it gets pretty repetitious after not making the playoffs for five years, but I’ve got a good feeling about this most recent shakeup. Everything’s changing—players, GMs, coaches, uniforms… This is going to be a new Stars team, and I can’t wait to see them.