Mac Engel

Success level of new Stars coach will decide fate of his general manager

Coach Jim Montgomery and the Dallas Stars welcomed forward Ty Dellandrea with the No. 13 overall pick in the 2018 NHL draft on Friday.
Coach Jim Montgomery and the Dallas Stars welcomed forward Ty Dellandrea with the No. 13 overall pick in the 2018 NHL draft on Friday. AP file

With the Ken Hitchcock reunion having belly flopped in a pile of average, the Dallas Stars did not grab another retread to coach their team back to relevance.

Instead, Stars general manager Jim Nill made the rare choice to go to college for his next head coach.

Team sources said former Dallas Stars journeyman forward Jim Montgomery has been selected to replace Hitch as the team's new head coach.

Montgomery will be the Stars' sixth head coach since 2008-09.

Montgomery had been the head coach at the University of Denver since 2013. He led DU to an NCAA title in 2017.

Montgomery, 48, played 148 career NHL games from 1993 to 2003. He spent his final two NHL seasons with the Stars where he played a total of nine games under, of course, Hitch.

As a coach, Montgomery also served as an assistant at Notre Dame, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Dubuque of the USHL.

Whereas the hiring of Hitch had the owner's paw prints all over it, the decision to hire Montgomery is all Nill. This move will either be the move that saves him, or gets him fired.

Hitch and Nill respected each other, but they were not a fit.

Nill was hired in the spring of 2013, and one of his first decisions was to hire Lindy Ruff. Then, after firing Ruff in 2017, he hired Hitch.

Hitch recognized the team is not as good as he thought it would be, so he quit. As a result, Nill is on his third coach.

Montgomery takes over one of the more disappointing teams in the NHL. The Stars have missed the playoffs in eight of the last 10 seasons, including the last two.

He does, however, inherit a team with some nice talent up top, notably forwards Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin and defenseman John Klingberg. The team is also finally finished with the terrible contract of goalie Kari Lehtonen that had burdened this team for years.

The Stars just have no depth.

But they have a new coach. Again.

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