Originally written on Inside Smashville  |  Last updated 4/25/12

The Nashville Predators’ General Manager, David Poile, has been nominated for the General Manager of the Year Award for the third consecutive season. Poile has been nominated every year of the award’s existence and is the only general manager to accomplish that feat.

(Photo: Nashville Predators)

“It is a tremendous honor. I say that because the voting is done by the other 29 general managers,” Poile said. “It is a true reflection of our whole organization, and everything that has taken place in the last two or three years, starting, of course, at the highest level with the ownership. Anybody would say that any business you are in, if you have solid, stable ownership, that’s the foundation that you need to make your company work and go in the right direction.”

The other two nominees are Dale Tallon of the Florida Panthers and Doug Armstrong from the St. Louis Blues. The award will be handed out at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas on June 20th, 2012.

Poile is the only general manager the Predators have ever known. The Predators have been in the NHL since the 1998-99 season.

For the second consecutive year, Nashville has made it to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. A season ago, the Vancouver Canucks ousted the Predators from the playoffs in six games. Poile is confident that the Predators can move forward to the Western Conference Finals.

“Our work is just getting started. I feel so good about where we are going with the franchise, both on and off the ice. Winning in the playoffs is what we are in business for. We have work to do and farther to go. I think we have the team and confidence to do that. It is a good situation for all of us in Nashville, and we hope to build off of it,” Poile said.

After winning a playoff series for the first time ever in franchise history last year, the Predators made some significant changes in the offseason. Veteran players such as Steve Sullivan and JP Dumont were let go. Sullivan signed as a free agent with the Pittsburgh Penguins, and the last year of Dumont’s contract was bought out by Nashville.

Marcel Goc, Joel Ward and Shane O’Brien all signed contracts with other teams as unrestricted free agents. Goc went to Florida, Ward signed in Washington, and O’Brien ended up in Colorado.

The Predators also traded Cody Franson and Matthew Lombardi to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

At the start of this season, Nashville was the youngest team in the National Hockey League.

“I think there was a lot of doubt as to where we were, not only outside the organization but also a little bit inside the organization,” Poile explained.

When asked about the team’s youth before the season started, Poile commented that the Predators would get better in the second half of the season. That, they did. Nashville went 11-2-0 in January and ended the season with 104 points, good for fifth best in the entire NHL.

“We made a lot of things happen in the year. We changed some guys around.  We tried players like [Niclas] Bergfors, who didn’t work out. We traded a veteran like [Jerred] Smithson away to take a chance on Paul Gaustad. The trade deadline was huge for us with all the acquisitions we made, [also] the time and effort that went into getting [Alexander] Radulov back,” Poile explained.

In addition to Gaustad, the Predators traded for Andrei Kostitsyn and Hal Gill from Montreal before the trade deadline.

Defensemen Roman Josi and Ryan Ellis started the season in Milwaukee, but were recalled by Nashville and earned spots on the roster, as did Gabriel Bourque who was also a mid-season call-up from the American Hockey League.

Poile believes that this year’s Nashville Predators can continue on to the next round, and that a deep playoff run will help him do his job in the offseason—which includes trying to sign both Ryan Suter and Shea Weber to long-term contracts.

“I think all of our players want to play here,” he said. “There is nobody who has ever asked me to be traded in the 13 years we have been here. They all like living here, playing here. Players just want to have a chance to compete. They want a chance to win the Stanley Cup.”

 

 

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