At a tumultuous time 5 days ahead of the 2023 trade deadline, long-time Predators GM, David Poile, announced his retirement, effective June 30th, 2023.
It is expected that Poile will stay on in an advising role so is not completely stepping away from the team.
Poile, 73, took over as the Predators General Manager when the team moved to Nashville in 1997. In 2018, in his 21st season as GM, he became the winningest GM in NHL history after a win in Edmonton on March 1st, 2018.
Also in 2018, he was inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame during his NHL-longest 39th consecutive season as a GM.
He served as the General Manager of the Capitals from 1982-1997 where his team made 15 playoff appearances before coming to Nashville.
Poile, Nashville's only GM in team history, built teams that made 14 playoff appearances, won 1 conference title, 1 division title, a President's trophy, and earned a Stanley Cup Final appearance. He also won GM of the Year in 2016-17 after the team's impressive finals run.
His 42 year career is among the most impressive in NHL executive history and he turned Nashville into a perennial playoff team where the city constantly has high expectations for the team. Likewise, the consistent performance on the ice, as showcased by the team's 8-straight playoff appearances, has made hockey a staple of Nashville.
In just the last 7 years, the city has held the NHL All Star game, made the Stanley Cup Final, won the President's trophy, and more.
In the shorter term, Poile's retirement is welcomed by many fans. There has been constant talk as to when this moment would come, how it may impact the team's moves, and what may come next.
In recent seasons, there is no hiding the fact that some of Poile's moves have missed the mark. To me, though, it is more the indecisiveness of his player acquisition that gave me concern. Moreso, I believe the coaching change from Peter Laviolette to John Hynes amplified some of the team's issues.
While he has an impressive list of good moves, as is highlighted by the team's prolonged success, pro sports is about recent results.
Succeeding David Poile will be a close friend of his, Barry Trotz. Trotz was the first coach in Predator's history after David Poile opted to bring Trotz with him from Washington when taking the Predators GM job.
Trotz was Nashville's head coach from 1998 to 2014 and ranked third all-time in games coached (1,196) and wins (557) with a single franchise. He made the playoffs in 7 of 15 seasons, only making it as far as the Conference semifinals.
After leaving Nashville, he won the Stanley Cup in his 4th season with the Capitals before leaving for the Islanders where he made the playoffs in 3 of 4 seasons and had another Stanley Cup Final appearance in 2020-21.
Like Poile, Trotz is a Predators legend. This is his first job in management and he is expected to begin work immediately despite not officially taking over until June 30th. Reportedly, he has been working as an advisor to Poile for a while now so will not be coming in cold.
Also noteworthy, it is believed that the GM change will also coincide with a coaching change. These two moves are bigger than any single trade the team could make ahead of the deadline and completely changes the team's future.
Needless to say, this is a massive event for the Predators. With the trade deadline approaching, the team in limbo, and questions as to whether the team will continue to sell off players and accept their fate, this transitional move could be a sign.
In bringing in their next GM and beginning work now, I could see this as potentially waving the white flag on the 2023 season and allowing Trotz to give his input to best prepare his roster for when he takes over.
While this comes at an odd time and it is a very awe-inspiring move, it is one that brings excitement.