By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj
Happy 62nd Birthday To Former Boston Bruins Forward Jim Nill!
Jim Nill was born on April 11th, 1958 in Hanna, Alberta, Canada. Jim began his hockey career back in 1974-75 with the Drumheller Falcons of the AJHL (Alberta Junior Hockey League), posting 30-30-60 numbers in 58 games that season. At the age of 17, Nill joined the Medicine Hat Tigers of the WCHL (now known as the WHL), scoring 16 points in 62 games during his first season.
Over the next two seasons in Medicine Hat, Nill scored a 47-point season followed by an impressive 93-point season where he scored 47 goals and put up 8-7-15 numbers in 12 playoff games before being eliminated by the Billings Bighorns in the Division Finals. This subsequently led to him being drafted 89th overall (6th round) in the 1978 NHL Amateur Draft by the St. Louis Blues.
In 1978-79, Nill played 17 games for the University of Calgary, racking up another fifteen points. The very next year, Nill only played international hockey for his home country of Canada. The 6-foot, 185-pound winger played in six games at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York. Canada finished sixth in men’s hockey during those games and Nill would put up three points during the tournament.
It was until the 1981-82 season that Jim Nill would finally get the taste of hockey in the National Hockey League. For the St. Louis Blues that season, Nill scored nine goals and 12 assists for 21 points and 127 penalty minutes in 61 games played. In March of ’82, Jim Nill joined Tony Currie, Rick Heinz, and St. Louis’ 4th Round Pick in 1982 in a deal to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for goaltender Glen Hanlon.
Nill played a combined 124 games with the Canucks over three NHL seasons, posting a 17-23-40 stat-sheet before being shipped once again – this time to the Boston Bruins in exchange for Peter McNab. He never really impressed in the two years he spent in Boston, scoring only 15 points in 76 games from the 1983-84 season to the 1984-85 season. It was in 1985 when Nill was traded to the Winnipeg Jets for Morris Lukowich.
The majority of Jim Nill’s NHL playing career came in Winnipeg, where he skated in 141 regular-season games throughout four seasons of hockey. The journeyman forward was traded one last time to the Detroit Red Wings in the winter of 1988 for right-winger Mark Kumpel. Jim put up 31 points in 122 games with the Wings, only for him to be sent down to the Adirondack Red Wings of the American Hockey League (AHL). He retired from professional hockey in 1991.
While most would be done with hockey at this point, Nill was not, and at the age of 33, he joined the Ottawa Senators as an amateur scout and not long after, promoted to a professional scout. He later joined the Detroit Red Wings to oversee player development and amateur scouting and was with the team for four Stanley Cups (1997, 1998, 2002, and 2008).
In April 2013, the Dallas Stars hired Jim Nill to be their new General Manager and after only a few months on the job, he made one of the biggest blockbuster trades in recent memory, sending forward Loui Eriksson, defenceman Joe Morrow, forward Reilly Smith, and forward Matt Fraser to the Boston Bruins in exchange for superstar forward Tyler Seguin, forward Rich Peverley, and defenceman Ryan Button.
As of today, Jim Nill remains the General Manager of the Stars and has helped them become one of the top teams in the Central Division with a record of 37-24-8 before the COVID-19 pandemic pause. Happy Birthday, Jim Nill!