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Stars Manager Wins General Manager of the Year

Dallas Stars general manager Jim Nill is the NHL’s General Manager of the Year for the second straight season.

General Manager of the Year Winners

Nill is just the second general manager to win the General Manager of the Year Award in consecutive seasons since its introduction in 2010, joining New York Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello (2020, 2021). Here are the winners in that time span:

2024: Jim Nill, Dallas Stars
2023: Jim Nill, Dallas Stars
2022: Joe Sakic, Colorado Avalanche
2021: Lou Lamoriello, New York Islanders
2020: Lou Lamoriello, New York Islanders
2019: Don Sweeney, Boston Bruins
2018: George McPhee, Vegas Golden Knights
2017: David Poile, Nashville Predators
2016: Jim Rutherford, Pittsburgh Penguins
2015: Steve Yzerman, Tampa Bay Lightning
2014: Bob Murray, Anaheim Ducks
2013: Ray Shero, Pittsburgh Penguins
2012: Doug Armstrong, St. Louis Blues
2011: Mike Gillis, Vancouver Canucks
2010: Don Maloney, Phoenix Coyotes

Nill’s Background

The Stars hired Nill from the Detroit Red Wings front office in 2013. He spent 19 seasons with the Red Wings organization, taking several positions that included general manager of the team’s AHL affiliate and directing the NHL club’s scouting, prospect development, and draft strategy.

The Red Wings won four Stanley Cups during Nill’s tenure with the team and developed many prospects into notable NHL players, including Tomas Holmstrom, Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Petr Sykora, Niklas Kronwall, Jiri Hudler, and Valtteri Filppula.

His approach in Dallas has continued to display his expertise for development as several of the current roster’s other budding stars are home-grown. Nill drafted eleven players on this season’s final playoff roster, and others he selected were on opposing playoff rosters.

Chasing a Championship

After putting together a roster that defied preseason expectations by reaching Game 6 of the Western Conference Final in 2022-23, Nill received his first General Manager of the Year Award.  But, there were improvements to make, so he set out to add pieces to push his team to the next level.

By the time the season came around, he declared that the team was ready to chase a championship.

Nill’s approach to the 2023 offseason consisted of a myriad of one-year contracts. Through that strategy, he retained young players like Ty Dellandrea and added veterans who were chasing a Stanley Cup.

He took a risk on Sam Steel, a former first-round pick who had sputtered early in his career. The risk paid off as Steel became a crucial component of Dallas’ fourth line and turned in his second-most productive offensive season. The year may have set up Steel for a follow-up deal to return to the team.

Craig Smith joined Dallas on a one-year deal and provided veteran leadership on the third and fourth lines throughout the season. While he found himself fighting for playing time at the end, he did what he was asked to do.

The most significant signing came in the form of forward Matt Duchene. The former All-Star had been questioned in Nashville but found a home on Dallas’ second line. His veteran leadership was a huge factor, but he proved he still has what it takes to excel on the ice, often putting the team in situations to capitalize on chances due to his skill and hockey IQ.

General Manager of the Year: Roster Management

Nill wasn’t done after the season started. It took continuous roster management to get the Stars as far as they did, especially with injuries.

Despite positive results in the standings, Dallas had a glaring defensive issue that needed to be fixed. Nill, as a General Manager of the Year should, addressed the issue by acquiring veteran defenceman Chris Tanev. Once Tanev joined the team, it seemed the defensive effort picked up almost immediately, sparking a late-season run to clinch the Western Conference and a No.1 playoff seed.

Dallas pushed past the most recent two Stanley Cup Champions (Vegas and Colorado) and returned to the Western Conference Final. Yet, allowing Edmonton to win Game 5 on the road proved to be Dallas’ downfall as its defense struggled against a potent offensive attack.

While the season ended up in the same place, Nill’s efforts resulted in an unforgettable year for the Dallas Stars and have solidified the team as a contender in the West. Those results will usually come with awards like General Manager of the Year.

Main Photo: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports


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