It was announced yesterday that Dallas Stars General Manager Jim Nill won General Manager of the year. The Stars are coming off a fantastic season that saw them go to the Western Conference Finals, and even while going for it the Stars are set up for the future.
Jim Nill, the Stars’ General Manager since 2013, has led the team to 6 playoff appearances, 2 conference finals, and a 2020 Stanley Cup Final appearance. Though a Stanley Cup win has eluded them so far, Nill’s tenure has been undeniably successful.
The most impressive part of Nill’s tenure has been his ability to keep the team feeling fresh without a full rebuild. He made the trade for Tyler Seguin in his first few months as GM, and have kept the main core of Seguin and Benn together since. Jim Nill has been able to bring in young talent throughout his tenure without sacrificing team success. As mentioned earlier, he has reached the playoffs 6 times and missed 4 times. The most recent of which should have an asterisk, the entire team had to shut down due to COVID during the 2020-21 season and never recovered, they were more than good enough for a playoff spot.
His excellent drafting enables a smooth transition from Seguin-Benn to the new Stars era. In 2017, the Stars had an exceptional draft class. They selected Miro Heiskanen at 3, Jake Oettinger at 26, and Jason Robertson at 39, setting up the future. Jim Nill‘s picks shaped the entire Stars organization, including Roope Hintz, their number 1 center drafted at 49 in 2015.
The ability to draft that well keeps the Stars competitive for longer. The threat of regression from Seguin and Benn isn’t nearly as bad when the players ready to take the reigns are ready to go.
The future is bright in Dallas thanks to Jim Nill, players like Robertson, Hintz, Oettinger and Heiskanen are the face of Texas Hockey at the moment. But there are some players about to make a massive splash within the organization.
Wyatt Johnston had an impressive rookie season in Dallas. He scored 24 goals and 17 assists while playing in all 82 games. During the playoffs, he added 4 goals and 2 assists, further showcasing his abilities. Johnston proved to be a valuable asset for the Stars throughout the season, displaying a level of composure and experience beyond his rookie status. As the 23rd pick in the 2021 draft, expectations are high for him to continue developing and become a key player in the upcoming season. As part of the Stars’ second line, Johnston will likely take on a prominent role.
Ty Dellandrea just completed his first full season, and he has a style of play that’s highly sought after in the NHL. He was the 13th pick in 2018, going into 2022-23 he only had 27 games of experience. But this past season he played in all 82 games, scoring 9 goals and 19 assists. The points aren’t as impressive as they are from Johnston, but what you get from Dellandrea is just as vital. In my eyes he’s the next Jamie Benn, he plays a gritty style and is extremely physical. He’s a guy that’s going to be extremely hard to play against, and is going to win some playoff games. Demonstrated by his 2 goal performance in game 5 against Vegas.
Logan Stankoven a player with great potential, is gaining recognition as a strong contender for the next captaincy of the Dallas Stars. He spent last season with the Kamloops Blazers of the WHL. He went 47th overall in 2021, yet another value find for Nill. Last season he had an astonishing 97 points in just 48 games, 34 of which were goals. I fully expect Logan to make the team out of camp next season. But if he doesn’t we’ll definitely see him at some point during the season.
How Did He Win?
Jim Nill kept his foot on the floor this season, and did everything he could to help the team out. The Stars were hard against the salary cap, yet still made smart moves to better the team. Jim Nill moved on from Denis Gurianov and flipped him for Evgenii Dadonov. A move that will benefit both players immensely. He also acquired Max Domi at the deadline, giving the Stars much more scoring depth. As well as some more physicality for the playoffs.
While Domi is most likely leaving the team for free agency, Nill locked Dadonov up for another 2 seasons. The team made a great run to the Western Conference Final. The NHL should be expecting to see a lot more of the Stars going forward. Thanks to Jim Nill.
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As the confetti fell in victory lane in Daytona on the Hendrick Motorsports No....