When the Dallas Stars hired Jim Nill to be their new general manager a little more than a year ago, they were coming off a five-year playoff drought and three last-place finishes in their division over a four-year stretch.
In the one year he's been running the team, Dallas acquired a franchise player in Tyler Seguin, drafted Valeri Nichushkin and returned to the playoffs for the first time since the 2007-08 season.
As if things weren't already starting to point in the right direction, Nill has hit a couple of home runs in his second offseason with the team.
NHL Free Agency
NHL Free Agency
On Tuesday, he acquired another playmaking center, Jason Spezza from the Ottawa Senators, and then made what could be one of the smartest free agent signings on a day filled with complete lunacy by signing Ales Hemsky to a three-year, $12 million contract.
There is no doubt that some teams were probably afraid to make an investment in Hemsky due to his injury problems over the years or any other collection of misguided narratives that have followed him around. Those teams were no doubt looking at the right wrong things. So credit the Stars for not only being willing to look past that stuff, but by also starting to put together what could be one hell of an exciting team to watch.
Hemsky gives the Stars another skilled winger who can lug the puck through the neutral zone and help control possession. Putting him into a situation where he can focus on offense and return to being a playmaker is just what he needs at this point, and he may have found the perfect team for that to happen.