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Catching up with Jim Nill

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

Dallas Stars GM Jim Nill is back in town after a successful run as the GM of Canada’s team at the 2015 World Championship in Czech Republic.

Nill’s team put together an impressive run in taking the gold medal at the tournament, winning all ten games in regulation and outscoring its opponents 66-15.

“The players really bought into the team and were committed to playing as a team,” Nill said. “There were some pretty talented kids there. The coaches and the players, they bought into it. They did a good job.”

The three Dallas players who suited up for Canada – forwards Jason Spezza, Tyler Seguin and Cody Eakin – had excellent tournaments.

“Our players were all very good,” Nill said. “They were a big part of that team. They all played very well.”

Spezza was the top scorer at the World Championship with 14 points (six goals, eight assists) in ten games and was named the best forward at the tournament. Seguin led the tournament in goals with nine. Eakin played on Canada’s fourth line and tallied four goals and two assists in six games.

Jason Spezza was the [best] forward of the tournament. He was the leading scorer, played great and was one of the leaders. He did a great job that way,” Nill said. “Tyler Seguin played wing the whole tournament and he bought into that. He played very good two-way hockey and was still the leading goal scorer in the tournament. Cody Eakin came out and played his game. He was very effective. His line was maybe our most consistent line for putting pressure on the other team, and he chipped in with six points in nine games.”

Spezza, Seguin and Eakin were three of nine Dallas players at the tournament. John Klingberg tallied six points in eight games for Sweden, tying for fifth in defensemen scoring at the tournament. Jhonas Enroth played in six of Sweden’s eight games and posted a 2.72 goals-against average and .876 save percentage. Goaltending prospect Jack Campbell won a bronze medal with the United States, playing in two games and notching a big win over Russia in preliminary play. Antoine Roussel was a top six forward for France, registering two assists in seven games. Defenseman Jyrki Jokipakka scored two goals in eight games for Finland. And defense prospect Esa Lindell tied for fifth in defensemen scoring at the tournament with six points (two goals, four assists) in eight games and was named one of Finland’s three best players.

Nill said Lindell, a third-round pick (74th overall) in the 2012 NHL Draft, isn’t far from the NHL.

“He was one of their top two or three defensemen. He played very well. Very poised for a young man. He had no problems strength-wise,” Nill said. “He’s knocking on the door here in Dallas. He’s not far off. He’s going to come over to training camp and we’ll see where he fits in. He moves the puck when it should be moved. He can run a power play. He’s a good player, a very good player.”

Notes: Benn, Hemsky and Daley all fine after surgery

*Nill said Stars captain Jamie Benn, forward Ales Hemsky and defenseman Trevor Daley are all doing well after undergoing offseason hip surgery. Benn had surgery on both hips.

“They are all feeling very good. They are all doing their rehab now. So far, everybody is on pace for the right timeframe,” Nill said. “They should all be ready for training camp.”

*Nill said the Stars just wrapped up meetings with the team’s amateur scouts. The Stars will attend the NHL Combine in Buffalo at the beginning of June and after that it will be meetings with the team’s pro scouts.

“Then we are into the draft and free agency,” Nill said. “A lot happens over the next six weeks.”

*The Stars also will have eyes on the Memorial Cup, which gets underway this weekend in Quebec City. Stars goaltending prospect Philippe Desrosiers is playing at the tournament with QMJHL champion Rimouski. Desrosiers came up big in Game 7 of the QMJHL championship series, stopping 47 of 48 shots as Rimouski defeated Quebec, 2-1, in double overtime.

“It’s great anytime your players play in those types of games,” Nill said. “It is high pressure and it helps their development.”

Also playing at the tournament are Oshawa (OHL champion), Kelowna (WHL champion) and Quebec (host team).

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.

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