Dallas Stars Chairman of the Board and Owner Thomas O. Hicks announced today that he has relieved Doug Armstrong from his duties as General Manager of the hockey club.Dallas has struggled a bit this season, but in that they're keeping pace with the rest of the Pacific Division. This is a fairly surprising turn of events, as Armstrong has been a part of the Stars organization for 17 years and was under contract until 2011.
He's been the team's GM since January, 2002, and has a 210-109-58 record in that time. Dallas has made the playoffs the last four seasons, but hasn't made it out of the first round three consecutive years now.
Armstrong desperately wanted to upgrade his forwards this summer after a season in 2006-07 where goals were hard to come by, but he was outbid in a lot of instances. He almost got Slava Kozlov, and even reportedly had a bigger deal on the table than what he signed for to stay in Atlanta.
The Stars only had about $4-million available under the cap to work with and basically needed a scoring forward — there wasn't a lot available. Paul Kariya was said to be his No. 1 target heading in, but he ended up getting $6-million a year over three years in St. Louis.
The team's slow start (7-7-3) was apparently enough to axe him, but I think this shows incredible impatience from Hicks. If you're going to relieve a GM, it's best to do so in the off-season so at least there is time for someone to come in and perform an overhaul. This introduces a lot of uncertainty into an organization that basically was basically a middle-of-the-road team. (That said, Armstrong had some strange moves over the years, including trading for Patrik Stefan. He and his staff have also struggled at the draft.)
Still, there had been some wacky trade rumours out of Dallas this year, and attendance has been flagging, something that likely motivated Hicks to act more than anything.
Former Kings GM Dave Taylor is already in the organization, as is the highly regarded Les Jackson, currently an assistant GM, I believe.
Hicks purchased the team in December, 1995, but the Stars' real successes came with Bob Gainey in the GM's seat and Ken Hitchcock as coach.
Army's been fired [Penalty Killing]
Things may get worse in Dallas [Eric Duhatschek]