Breaking News: Dallas Stars GM Jim Nill Discusses Draft and Free Agency Plans, and Salary Cap Management…

Stars GM Jim Nill Discusses Draft, Free Agency, and Salary Cap…

With the 2024 NHL Draft approaching and free agency kicking off on July 1, the Dallas Stars’ front office is bustling with activity.

Jim Nill, the Stars’ General Manager, has a packed schedule. He is preparing for the NHL Entry Draft on June 28 and 29 in Las Vegas, gearing up for free agency starting July 1, and currently working on shaping the team’s roster.

The Stars’ progress to the Western Conference Final has added to the frenzy. Nill remarked that he wouldn’t mind being even busier—had the Stars beaten the Edmonton Oilers, they would still be playing while managing these tasks.

“Our late season condensed everything,” Nill stated. “We just finished our pro scout meetings and now we’re getting ready for the draft. It’s hectic, but it’s a good problem to have because of our deep playoff run. We aim for this every year.”

Last season, Dallas made it to Game 6 of the conference finals but lost to Vegas. While there was reassurance in their performance, the season ended on a slightly negative note. Despite improvements in their roster and regular-season record, the Stars were expected to advance past the Oilers, especially after leading the series 2-1. However, they lost three consecutive games and were eliminated in six.

“It’s painful because we were so close,” Nill expressed. “We had an opportunity against Edmonton and didn’t seize it. When you get that far, you must capitalize. We let it slip in Game 4.”

He added, “It’s hard because you never know when you’ll get another chance. Winning the Cup is an honor because it’s so difficult to achieve.”

Nill is already planning for the next season. Veteran Joe Pavelski announced his retirement, creating one change. Pavelski was the second-highest scorer on the team with 67 points in 82 games. The organization also needs to decide on re-signing UFAs Matt Duchene, Chris Tanev, Craig Smith, Scott Wedgewood, Jani Hakanpää, and Alex Petrovic. If not re-signed, they become free agents on July 1. Restricted free agents Thomas Harley, Sam Steel, and Nils Lundkvist have more time, but all must fit under the salary cap.

To manage cap space, the Stars traded pending-RFA Ty Dellandrea to San Jose for a fourth-round draft pick this week.

“It’s part of cap management,” Nill explained. “We’re tight against the cap. We have a significant overage from bonuses for Joe Pavelski and Thomas Harley. We need to make everything fit, considering potential salary increases.”

Dellandrea, 23, played 42 regular-season games and six playoff games, so the team has other options.

“I had a good talk with him, and we agreed it was best for him to try a new place,” Nill said. “He’s a great young man.”

The Stars need to replace departing players. Prospects Logan Stankoven, 21, and Mavrik Bourque, 22, could step in, and Dallas may look to trades or free agency.

“The core is solid and well-supported,” Nill said. “We need to make smart cap decisions.”

The team battled injuries throughout the playoffs, with Hakanpää undergoing knee surgery and Hintz adjusting to a broken finger. However, Nill confirmed no further surgeries are needed. Tyler Seguin will rehab a lower body injury over the summer but won’t require surgery.

“Were guys banged up? Yes,” Nill noted. “But nothing major, so we were fortunate.”

Looking ahead, Nill emphasized the need to move forward.

“We faced tough rounds and survived, but we didn’t find a way in the end,” Nill said. “It’s disappointing, knowing we are as good as any team. Despite the ending, it was a great, consistent season. I’m proud of the players, coaching staff, and everyone involved. Many of our players learned valuable lessons from this experience.”

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