As per TSN. Fans over at Defending Big D are overwhelmingly in favour of the appointment, which isn't surprising given Nieuwendyk's reputation and what he did during his playing career. Brandon Worley argued that Les Jackson likely deserved a shot at the job, and I'm not at all sure I disagree; he's got the experience and the resume, and with the exception of the Sean Avery fiasco (which reports would seem to indicate was mostly a Brett Hull acquisition) his record in Dallas hasn't been bad at all.
Both Hull and Jackson are to be retained in the organization, with Jackson continuing his work on the drafting/development side of the organization, and Hull fulfilling duties as "Executive Vice President".
Nieuwendyk took an odd road to the NHL, particularly for a Canadian, playing for Cornell University, where he played a grand total of 73 games over three seasons (and the Oilers think RIley Nash doesn't play enough) before winning the Calder Trophy with a 51-goal, 92-point rookie season in Calgary. He won a Stanley Cup with Calgary before moving to Dallas in exchange for Jarome Iginla.
He won another Stnaley Cup in Dallas and took home the Conn Smythe Trophy as well - Brett Hull has a Cup ring from that same team. Nieuwendyk would get his name on the Cup one more time, with the 2003 New Jersey Devils, before finishing off his career in Toronto and Florida.
Things have worked in reverse, post-retirement. Nieuwendyk got into the front office with the Panthers initially, before resigning amid a torrent of front office changes. The Leafs inquired about his services folloowing his resignation, which prompted Panthers G.M. Jacques Martin to refuse them permission to speak to him. It was foolish; Nieuwendyk's contract expired within two months and then the Leafs brought him aboard anyway.
Now he goes back to Dallas where he'll get a chance at the top hockey job, and I think he'll do well. He doesn't have the resume or the experience that the ideal candidate would have, but he's intelligent and it's virtually impossible to find anyone with a bad thing to say about him. I think he'll do just fine.