Jim Nill wants to win. He wants to win now, he wants to win in the future, he wants to win a few of the games this team has already lost. It consumes him. But the first-year Stars GM understands that winning is a process. That’s what 20 years in Detroit taught him. He was there when the Red Wings were just trying to become a winner. He was there when they transitioned from the old guard to the new and kept winning. He was there when they overcame some of the same problems that dog every other franchise, and still found a way to keep their playoff streak going. And that’s what he’s trying to build in Dallas. So while the team is hitting an icy patch at 1-7-1, Nill said he is trying to use the lessons he learned in Detroit by maintaining both calm and diligence at the same time. I asked Nill some questions about potential trades and where the Stars sit in the standings, and he said that he and the front office prepare every day for potential trades, and that other NHL GMs are doing the same thing. “Every day we come to work, we’re trying to get better,’’ he said. “We’re all making calls, we’re all talking to each other. We’re in a highly competitive business, we’re all trying to win, and we’re all trying to get the best deal we can.’’ So why have there not been more deals? Well, the NHL had a lockout last season so that the owners could cut costs and save money. As a result, the salary cap went from $70.2 million in 2012-13 to $64.3 million this season. That pushed everyone closer to the cap and forced teams to make some hard decisions _ like Boston trading Tyler Seguin in the summer. It also means that teams who made those cuts in the summer don’t have as much wiggle room to take on high contracts in order to help themselves and help a team like the Stars rebuild a little. The Stars last season were able to move Brenden Morrow, Jaromir Jagr and Derek Roy and get some nice assets in return. However, they had to find playoff teams willing to take on those expiring contracts to do so. That might be harder this season. “It’s tight out there, and they have to be almost perfect deals for teams to consider them,’’ Nill said. “Not only does the change of player for player have to make sense, but the money has to make sense.’’ It’s a complicated puzzle, and each team is trying to make his puzzle fit as it is, and also looking to possibly grab a piece from someone else’s puzzle to see if that can help. Nill said the No. 1 priority of the Stars is to win with the players you already have, and he said that is how he has approached this season.
Dallas Stars GM Jim Nill answers some basic trade talk questions
Dallas Morning News | Jan 20