The crowded situation in the Maple Leafs front office was eased yesterday when the Dallas Stars named Joe Nieuwendyk their general manager.
Nieuwendyk was hired by Toronto as an assistant by Cliff Fletcher when Fletcher was interim GM at the start of this season, but the arrival of Brian Burke at mid-season and his right-hand man, Dave Nonis, created an awkward situation.
With Fletcher staying as senior adviser to Burke until Aug. 1 and likely beyond, Nonis was installed as senior vice-president of hockey operations and with Jeff Jackson already an assistant GM with duties for contracts and the Marlies farm team, Nieuwendyk was unsure what his future would be in Toronto.
There is no compensation heading to Toronto from Dallas for taking Nieuwendyk before his contract expired after the NHL ended such practices a few years ago.
"We are extremely pleased for Joe, and we thank him for the fine job he did with us," Burke told Sun Media in an e-mail.