Today, the Dallas Stars have officially named former Detroit Red Wings Assistant GM, Jim Nill, as the organization’s 6th general manager. After spending 15 years as assistant, Nill brings both playing and front office experience where former GM, Joe Nieuwendyk lacked the front office tenure.
Stars owner, Tom Gaglardi was in town to introduce Nill. He started off by thanking Joe Nieuwendyk for the “representation” as a member of the Stars organization.
“No doubt, Joe left us in a better position,” Gaglardi said. “He represented the organization very well. With that, I’m thrilled to announce Jim Nill as the 6th general manager for the next 5 years.”
Tom referred to Jim’s tenure at the helm in Detroit as, “his record speaks for itself,” as he reeled off many of the Red Wings post season accolades such as 6 Stanley Cups and 22 consecutive post season appearances.
Mr. Nill first thanked the Detroit organization. He started with the Illitch family and the Red Wing’s GM, Ken Holland as being his “tutor.” The entire front office and scouting staff was referred to as “top notch,” by Jim.
He also referred to the players as being “first class,” as he pointed out Mike Modano who was present. Nill thanked Joe Nieuwendyk and realized the tough business they are in and once “the dust settles, I will reach out to Joe, as I’d love to have him involved in any capacity, as he is a Dallas Star through and through,” Jim said.
“I’m excited to turn into the next chapter,” said the new General Manager. “I received a phone call about two weeks ago and after meeting with Tom and Jim (Lites), I knew this was a fit. This was it.”
Nill continued, “I came here to restore this franchise to the years of Modano and Hatcher (both players are Detroit natives).”
After the introduction was complete, Tom Gaglardi was asked about the coaching situation and Jim Nill stepped right in and indicated, “That’s my question. You hired me so…I’m going to be very patient in making a decision. It could end up being a 2-week process.”
When asked if he was nervous, “It’s the type of ‘nervous’ you get when playing in the playoffs,” Jim said. “You know, the last time Detroit missed the playoffs, I was a player, so you got the manager…not the player.”
When asked about his philosophy, Jim simply said, “Biggest part of this game is drafting and developing,” which is what was told to StarsInsider.com when we talked to Jim Lites this past winter <link article>, so, even in spite of the thought that Lites and Nill worked together when Lites was in Detroit, the two share a common philosophy which was initiated by the Nieuwendyk regime.
“We have 10 draft picks, so our future is bright,” said Gaglardi. “We needed someone who could come in and manage the process and make decisions on when young players are ready and when they need more development. That’s why Jim [Nill] is here. He has been at the epicenter for 22 years in an organization that never had high draft picks.”
Nill also mentioned that he’s “got to be myself,” when asked about philosophy. In an obvious detour from comparisons to Ken Holland, Jim said, “You can bring a GM in every 5 years, but then you’re starting over every 5 years.”
For the first time since taking over as owner of the Dallas Stars, Tom Gaglardi has “his team.” He re-installed Jim Lites and now has his guy as general manager. For me, the biggest vote of confidence is the 5-year contract. It ties in with Nill’s philosophy that you can’t just cycle guys in and out every few years because you’ll never establish an identity.
The other positive that Stars fans can take away from the hiring of Jim Nill: once again, as was the case during the Ken Hitchcock and Dave Tippett eras, there is an epic mustachioed gentleman in charge of the Dallas Stars.