The Dallas Stars are wrapping up their fifth straight season without a playoff appearance, so the status quo is just not working. That's why Joe Nieuwendyk's time as GM is apparently coming to an end.
According to Darren Dreger of TSN, Nieuwendyk is out and will be replaced by Jim Nill from Detroit. That could be announced as soon as Monday. At this point, there's no indication what a GM change would mean for second-year coach Glen Gulutzan.
Nieuwendyk became the GM of the Stars back in 2009 after spending time in the Maple Leafs' and Panthers' front offices. He was returning to a franchise that he helped to win a Stanley Cup as a player (and he won the 1999 Conn Smythe Trophy), hoping to get the team back to that level as a general manager. It hasn't worked out.
Of the moves that Nieuwendyk made over the years, the one that he will be most remembered for is the trade of James Neal and Matt Niskanen to the Penguins for Alex Goligoski. It's not that Goligoski is bad or anything, but the return, particularly Neal, constitutes highway robbery. Since leaving Dallas, Neal has become a 40-goal scorer while the difference between Goligoski and Niskanen is negligble at best.
However, the Stars appear to have some promising young players. With a few moves that Nieuwendyk made at the deadline, he built up a prospect of good defensemen to augment what they already had in the system. Add in some of the other young players like Alex Chiasson and it's not like the cupboard is completely bare.
But it's not exactly stocked, either, or else the Stars wouldn't be in a position of watching the playoffs again. Though there is still a decent talent base starting with Jamie Benn and Loui Eriksson.
Nill has been in the Red Wings' front office going back to 1994. He has had a big hand in what they have done, serving as their director of amateur scouting and thus the drafting. As you probably know, the Red Wings have always done a good job of getting good players in the draft, and they've never been a terribly active team in free agency. According to multiple reports, Nill last year turned down the opportunity to become general manager in Montreal.
He does not have a bad resume for a GM candidate, that's for sure.
I wouldn't expect Gulutzan to be a lame-duck coach just because a new GM is coming in. Despite the team's failure to make the playoffs, he has done a pretty good job with a very young team, particularly since the trade deadline when Derek Roy, Brenden Morrow and Jaromir Jagr were all traded away. However, it's never a good feeling for a coach when your boss is fired.