When Jim Nill was named the Stars General Manager in 2013, he said it was his job to plan for "today, tomorrow, and 10 years from now."

After 10 seasons with Dallas, Nill has been named a finalist for the Jim Gregory General Manager of the Year Award and he has his team in a very good place moving forward.

The GM of the Year winner will be announced on Wednesday night at the 2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft and Nill is one of three finalists for the award. Boston's Don Sweeney and Florida's Bill Zito are the other finalists, and that's good company as the Bruins set an NHL record for points in a season and the Panthers made it to the Stanley Cup Final. Nill's performance was just as impressive, as he has helped the Stars move from an older core to a younger one and appointed a new coaching staff, whom have proven to be a great fit.

Assistant GM Mark Janko said he has been impressed with Nill's attention to detail and ability to move the team quickly into a new generation. Janko pointed out how the 2020 team that made the Stanley Cup Final was led by a very different core than the team that lost in the Western Conference Final to eventual Stanley Cup champion Vegas this season.

"We talk a bit about how Jim Nill has transitioned cores from Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, John Klingberg, Alexander Radulov, Benn Bishop to Roope Hintz, Miro Heiskanen, Jason Robertson, Wyatt Johnston and Jake Oettinger in just a few short years, and he hasn't had to do what other teams have had to do in order to transition that core," Janko said. "And they have gone from a Stanley Cup contending team in 2020 to what I think you could say was a Stanley Cup contending team this season."

Part of the beauty of the "bubble" playoffs in 2020 was how players like Oettinger, Robertson, Ty Dellandrea and Thomas Harley were able to participate in the two months in Edmonton, which helped their development. Part of the beauty of having the award and the NHL draft in Nashville this week is how it allows the scouting staff to be a part of the honor.

Nill said a huge reason for the team's improvement is a group of young players acquired in the draft. Dallas took Hintz in the second round in 2015 and then hit a home run in 2017, napping Heiskanen, Oettinger and Robertson. They followed up with Dellandrea, Harley and Johnston, who each played key roles in the playoffs this season.

Nill gave credit to the entire scouting staff, but especially heaped praise on Joe McDonnell. The Director of Amateur Scouting works out of Ontario and has been able to find two real gems in Robertson and Johnston. The Johnston pick came after the scrappy center missed an entire season due to the COVID shutdown, and Nill said McDonnell and his team of scouts nailed the pick.

"Joe deserves full credit for that," Nill said. "That was the COVID year, and we all saw him in Frisco [at the Under 18s], but to say he was going to be as good as he was . . . but Joe did his homework and had a gut feeling about him. At the draft, I challenged him and said, `Joe, are you sure this is the guy?' And he said, 'I really think this kid is going to be special, and I honestly think we can get him a little lower in the draft.' So, we moved down, and he was right on. It worked out so well."

Dallas gave up the 15th pick and grabbed the 23rd (Johnston), the 48th (Artem Grushnikov) and the 138th (Jack Bar). It was a perfect mix of the front office and scouting staff working together.

"When you look at the draft, it's been very good for us. Our scouts have done a great job and now the franchise has a good foundation for the next few years. My job is to hire good people and I've hired good people in Joe McDonnell, Mark Leach and Rich Peverley. I have full confidence in them."

But Nill has acted as the right kind of leader, knowing when to push the right buttons. Janko said Nill is very proactive in handling problems. He said his boss doesn't like to have stuff "in his inbox," and works hard to clear it out quickly.

"And it's not just how fast he does it, it's his attention to detail," Janko said. "It doesn't matter how big or small the issue is, whether it's signing a player to a major contract or taking care of financial per diem for scouts. He cares about every single detail in the organization and he wants to make sure we do things the right way. I have so much respect for how he handles things on a day-to-day basis."

Nill said he's flattered to be one of the finalists but added that this is a team award.

"Obviously, this is an award that is about the entire organization," Nill said. "I'm the one nominated, but really the honor is for everyone here. I think it's a great reflection on everyone here and it's something we should be very proud of."

Nill is the only finalists for a major award from the Stars. Jason Robertson could be named to one of the two All-Star teams and Wyatt Johnston could be named to the All-Rookie team. The presentation is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Wednesday and will be televised on ESPN.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club.

Mike Heika is a Senior Staff Writer for DallasStars.com and has covered the Stars since 1994. Follow him on Twitter @MikeHeika.