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Nill has opportunity to employ Red Wings-style of AHL development

Aug 8, 2014, 6:23 PM EDT

Jim Nill Getty Images

When the Dallas Stars recently announced that they would purchase the AHL Texas Stars, it handed Dallas GM Jim Nill more direct control over the development of the franchise’s prospects.

That’s an area he is very familiar with thanks to his 19 seasons of experience as a member of the Detroit Red Wings organization before he joined the Stars. During the vast majority of his tenure, Nill was an assistant general manager and helped oversee the franchise’s prospects. So while he’s only been with Dallas for a little over a year, it wouldn’t be surprising if it becomes apparent over the seasons to come that Nill favors letting prospects develop as much as possible in the AHL before transitioning to the top level.

He’s already shown that he’s not above allowing players to make the jump straight to the NHL from the draft. After all, Valeri Nichushkin made the NHL squad after being selected with the 10th overall pick in 2013, but he was also something of a unique case given that he had a bit of experience in the KHL.

In the end, Nichushkin is likely to prove to be the exception rather than the rule. It helps matters that the Texas Stars have a winning culture that will aide in the development and eventual graduation of some of the players in their system.

Texas won the Calder Trophy last season, finished in first place in their conference in back-to-back campaigns, and has been to the finals twice in the last five years.

“Winning is contagious,” Nill told the Dallas Morning News in June. “We talk all the time about building a winning culture, and this is a big part of that.”

The Stars also have one of the 10 best farm systems, per hockey’s future.

So the foundation is in place for Nill to develop a slow-and-steady pipeline of talent to the Dallas Stars that should keep the team competitive for years to come and given his past experience, there’s a good chance that he will be able to pull it off.

  1. cliffatola - Aug 10, 2014 at 1:49 AM

    I think this is going to be the new standard in the NHL with the parent clubs owning their AHL counterparts.

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