After a disappointing end of the regular season that saw his team earn three points over their last seven games to miss the playoffs, the Dallas Stars have parted ways with general manager Joe Nieuwendyk Sunday. The firing comes a a day after losing the regular season finale 3-0 to Detroit. Detroit qualified for the playoffs as the No. 7 seed with the win.
Nieuwendyk has been in the GM position for four years, and in that time has missed the playoffs every time. “Joe Nieuwendyk has represented the Dallas Stars extremely well as the club’s general manager and has helped put pieces in place that will once again turn this team into a contender,” Stars owner Tom Gaglardi said in a statement. “I would like to thank Joe for his contributions to this hockey club and wish him and his family only the best in the future.”
Gaglardi bought the team in November 2011 and has been striving to make the franchise a contender again. The moves Nieuwendyk has made during his tenure has made other general mangers across the league look like trade geniuses. Among those include trading James Neal and Matt Niskanen to the Pens for Alex Goligoski. Neal has blown up into a star player as he plays alongside Evgeni Malkin. Niskanen has grown into a solid defender and while Goligoski has played well for the Stars, this trade looks very lopsided in hindsight.
Fans who has been disappointed with the team could justify giving Nieuwendyk a free pass the first couple seasons in charge while previous owner Tim Hicks was in financial problems causing him to eventually sell the team to Gaglardi. Nieuwendyk has a special place in fans hearts as the hall of fame inductee was a member of the 1999 team that won the only Stanley Cup in franchise history.
He is rumored to be replaced by Detroit assistant GM Jim Nill. Nill has been with the Red Wings franchise since 1994, shortly after retiring as a player. He’s been head of the scouting unit that has brought over many European gems in later rounds in the draft including Pavel Datsyuk (sixth round)and Henrik Zetterberg (seventh round).
At the draft, he’s had the final say on who the team would pick in recent years. This has led to picks like forwards Gustav Nyquist and Joakim Andersson and defenseman Brendan Smith, all of whom have played significant roles this shortened season en route to leading the team to the playoffs for the 22nd straight year.