Nill continues reshaping Stars with holiday blockbuster

Jim Nill has only been the Dallas Stars’ general manager for just over two months now, but the man calling the shots in the Dallas front office has already made his mark on the organization.

Friday will mark two weeks since Nill announced Lindy Ruff had been hired as the new coach of the Stars and on Thursday, the Stars pulled off a huge trade with Boston that sent Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley to Big D along with defenseman Ryan Button in exchange for Loui Eriksson, Matt Fraser, Joe Morrow and Reilly Smith.

“This is a big trade for both teams. It wasn’t an easy trade for either party to make. We both gave up great players and great assets. We look forward to moving forward from here,” Nill said.

Seguin, 21, will return to his more natural position of center with the move, one he’s definitely excited about making.

“Very excited. I’m looking forward to the opportunity of course,” he said. “I’m definitely excited to get back into my natural position of center and looking forward to the experience.”

Nill has been tracking Seguin since he was playing juniors, so he’s a player the veteran hockey man knows well and one he’s definitely ecstatic to add to the Stars’ roster.

“I’ve seen him grow up as a junior and turn into a great pro. We’re very fortunate he played with the Boston Bruins. They do things right. I know he’s had great coaching and great fundamentals and he’s built a great foundation there,” Nill said.

And not only does the new Dallas GM see a player who will cement the Stars at center, but he also sees a new addition who can help form a base of leadership on and off the ice going forward.

“We just look forward to him taking a leadership role down here in Dallas. He’s going to be growing up with the Jamie Benns and these guys,” Nill said. “We’ve got a core group of players now that are all under the age of 25 and 26 and younger and I think it’s going to be great for him to kind of grow in with the rest of these players and help create a great environment down here for us.”

Peverley is a 30-year-old centerman who has seven years of NHL experience to his credit. A true face-off specialist, he is expected to help solidify the Stars on the penalty kill almost immediately, something his new head coach is definitely happy about.

“Well, first of all, he’s coming from a tremendous program,” Ruff said. “Being part of a team that’s been around the Stanley Cup now past four years, real important, I think he understands how hard it is, what it takes. And when you can surround your younger players with a player who has been in those battles, I think there’s a lot of value there.”

Nill also knows Peverley quite well, having watched him with the Bruins while working in the Red Wings front office.

“He’s a great player,” Nill said. “He’s a very effective player, very versatile and can play any position, very strong on draws. He’s going to add the depth we need at that position for us moving forward.”

Both Peverley and Seguin were members of the Bruins team that won the Stanley Cup in 2011 and helped Boston advanced to the Final this past season.

Button is a young blueliner who played 25 games for Boston’s top minor league affiliate, the Providence Bruins of the American Hockey League, last season.

Dallas loses Eriksson, 27, a second-round pick in the 2003 draft who had spent seven seasons with the Stars. The Swedish winger was an NHL All-Star in 2011.

Also heading to Beantown in the deal were Smith, a 22-year-old who appeared in 40 games for the Stars over the past two seasons Fraser, who appeared in 13 games and Morrow, a young defenseman who was acquired by Dallas from Pittsburgh in the pre-deadline deal that sent former Stars captain Brenden Morrow to the Penguins.

Besides the hiring of Ruff and Thursday’s big trade, Nill has also been successful in adding veteran defenseman Sergei Gonchar to the Stars via a trade with Ottawa. The veteran Russian D-man signed a two-year contract to remain with the Stars and figures to be a strong positive influence on Dallas’ top pick in last Sunday’s 2013 NHL Entry Draft, Valeri Nichushkin, a fellow Russian.