Joe Nieuwendyk and his staff did such a great job replenishing a horrendous prospect pool...it was a bottom five pool in the league five years ago or so...now it's easily top 10 in my opinion. On that front, he's done well. He had limited funds to work with, and some of the cost-cutting strategies of the Stars behind the scenes were really intrusive onto GMJN's (old) plans. I don't want to get into specifics, particularly because it doesn't matter now, but GMJN (old) was largely hogtied by ownership's purse strings and he had to operate under that pressure.
On the flip side, it's known around the league that you can get one over on him in a hockey trade. We've seen it, Montreal just saw it and I can't speak to what other teams were willing to part with at the deadline for their vets, but he brought in a little too much fluff in terms of prospects it seems (Connauton, for instance) and the deals felt a little rushed. That said, I'm surprised so many deals were allowed to take place for a lame duck GM. But whatever...it's not like he acquired immovable assets in these deadline deals.
The new ownership is ready to go there and GMJN (old) isn't their guy really...clearly. I don't believe that Gulutzan will be considered their guy either as he represents the old regime...if another coach presents himself as a better option, I think they'll jump on it...
Jim Nill...GMJN (new) is very, very highly respected around the league. He's been the asst GM in Detroit for a long time now and he's turned down multiple GM offers over the years...including Montreal last year (now Marc Bergevin's position).
I'm not positive that the brass trusted Nieuwendyk with their money on the market, which I think helped to usher in his dismissal.