The Nashville Predators will soon have a new general manager for the first time in franchise history, but it will be a very familiar face. David Poile will retire as GM and president of hockey operations effective June 30th, staying in a consulting role afterward. Barry Trotz is expected to be hired immediately and officially take over the position this summer.
Poile, 73, has led the Nashville franchise since 1997 before they were even known as the Predators. He navigated the expansion process, bringing hockey to a market where few believed it would be successful. The team, even without a Stanley Cup championship, has become one of the league’s most stable organizations, drawing strong crowds and reaching the playoffs in 15 of the last 18 seasons.
This season, he became the first executive in NHL history to serve as general manager of a franchise for 3,000 games, combining his time in Nashville with years leading the Washington Capitals previously. This is his 41st consecutive season as an NHL GM.
Trotz, 60, was a big part of bringing hockey to Nashville as well. The team’s first head coach, he was behind the bench for the first 15 years of Predators hockey, leading them to a 557-479-60-100 record. He would then, coincidentally, head to Washington, where he won a Jack Adams and Stanley Cup with the Capitals, and then to the New York Islanders, where he would take home his second Coach of the Year award.
After leaving the Islanders, Trotz has spoken publicly about his desire to get into an NHL front office. The Predators are the perfect fit, given his ties to the organization and the need for something of a new voice in the front office.
Poile’s direction has been questioned in recent years, as the Predators struggled to stay among the league’s elite after reaching the Stanley Cup Final in 2017. The books are filled with long, expensive contracts for veteran players, and a potential teardown may be in the cards at some point.
That was signaled with this weekend’s trade of Nino Niederreiter, but there is a lot more surgery to be performed on this roster if Trotz is to lead them to a championship. The Predators are expected to be serious players in the next few days, and the incoming executive will likely be involved in many of those decisions, even if his title won’t be official for a few months.
Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet broke the news on Twitter.