Monday, September 8, 2014

Jim Nill Autograph Card

Dallas Stars general manager Jim Nill apparently likes to work hard in the summer; he made the biggest splashes of the last two off-seasons, first trading for Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley from the Boston Bruins in 2013, and trading for the Ottawa Senators' Jason Spezza two months ago.

He's bold, he's smart, and he's learned well after spending nineteen years as assistant-GM under Ken Holland with the Detroit Red Wings. He won 4 Stanley Cups (1997, 1998, 2002 and 2008) as an executive - and put himself in contention for one as a team builder, taking the Stars from the pits of the NHL to the top of the talent pool in just two seasons.

What few people of this generation know is that Nill was actually a player before that, having played 524 games over 9 seasons with five different teams, reaching the Stanley Cup Finals once (Vancouver Canucks, 1982), but spending the longest stints with the Winnipeg Jets (4 seasons) and Wings (3 NHL seasons plus one in the AHL within the organization).

His 58 goals and 145 points in the high-scoring 1980s are one clue as to how he was used, but his 854 penalty minutes paint the clearer picture of the tough-as-nails grinder who didn't fear dropping the gloves. He also had 203 PIMs in 59 playoff games, which amounts to four fights per five games.

It is as a member of the Jets that In The Game chose to feature him for their 2013-14 Enforcers II set (card #A-JN of the Autograph sub-set), in their 1980s away uniform - purplish-blue with white sleeves:
Hopefully, like New York Islanders GM Garth Snow, his tendency to take risks and make bold moves will not get him fired too soon. The NHL needs guys who make things interesting.

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