After successfully acting as the man behind the men behind the Red Wings success, Jim Nill for years resisted offers to become a general manager.
Many believe he would be a natural for the job and, finally, Nill agreed to sign on with the Dallas Stars. This new role presents many challenges for the Alberta native and he knows it.
Our Adrian Szkolar interviewed Jim and in Part Two of a two-part series, Nill addressed the following subjects:
* ON WHAT IT TAKES TO BE A SUCCESSFUL G.M. IN THE LEAGUE:
I think its experience, learning the trade at every level. It’s important to understand how the scouting staff works, to know the business end, to know how the minor league operations work, to know how to deal with coaches and players; it’s kind of the whole magnitude.
When I first became assistant g.m., I thought I was ready right away. But after living it, seeing what happens, living through those experiences, I wasn’t ready. Things are going to happen that you never expect. You can be organized and ready to go, but there is going to something that is going to happen and you have to deal with that situation.
* ON KNOWING WHEN HE WAS READY TO BE A G.M.:
It’s dealing with people. It might be the players, it might be with the coach, it might be with ownership, or media, it’s all of those things. I can’t say there is one thing that stands out because stuff happens every day.
Situations are going to arise where something is going to happen, and everybody is going to see how you deal with that. A lot of times, we want to deal with things with a quick reaction, and that tends to get you in trouble.
I remember being in Detroit when we had a bad game, we’re all wired up and coming down to the dressing room, but I remember being down there with Scotty Bowman, and he was saying it was going to be okay. It’s little things like that, knowing to not make abrupt changes, be patient.
* ON TYLER SEGUIN TRADE:
There are some holes on this team, and we knew one of the biggest holes we had was down the middle. Ever since I got here, that has been one of our goals, to fill up that position.
Every team is at a different point in their maturity cycle, and Peter Chiarelli’s team is a Stanley Cup contender right now, and it’s going to be like that for the next four to six years. They had certain needs, we had certain needs, and it turned out that we had something they needed and vice-versa.
At the end, it was a hockey trade that worked out for both parties. Tyler is a big part of the trade, but Loui Eriksson is a heck of a player too, and we gave up some great prospects, but it was a trade that works out for both teams when you look at where both teams are at, in terms of their stages of time for winning.
* ON HOW CBA HAS AFFECTED THE JOB OF THE G.M.:
Money is now a big part of your decision-making. It used to always be player for player, that’s all you worried about, but now it’s not. Its player for player plus the money involved.
You need to make the money work, you have a cap you have to deal with, you might want to add somebody but you don’t have the cap room, there’s nothing you can do.
You have a game plan for this year, but you also need to be looking four to five years, how it’s going to be affecting your team. It’s changed the dynamics a lot, but the good thing is that it’s a level playing field for everybody; we’re all in the same situation, and we all have to make the right decisions for our teams.