Originally posted on Fox Sports Tennessee  |  Last updated 2/20/12
The Nashville Predators ensured that the only general manager in franchise history will remain in that role for at least three more seasons after this one. The team announced on Monday that David Poile, the second-longest serving general manager in the NHL, received a contract extension through the end of the 2014-15 season. Assistant general manager Paul Fenton, in his sixth season as general manager, also received an extension. Poile, who was once the assistant general manager of the Atlanta and Calgary Flames, has been an NHL general manager since the Washington Capitals hired him in 1982. He joined the expansion Predators in 1997. Poile has been nominated the last two seasons for the NHL's general manager of the year award. With 74 points entering Monday's games, the Predators own the fifth-most points in the NHL. Fifth in the Western Conference with a nine-point cushion over ninth-place Los Angeles, Nashville is on the verge of its seventh playoff appearance in the last eight seasons and despite some ownership issues in the past the hockey operations department has been a model of stability, with coach Barry Trotz serving as the only coach in franchise history. Last season, Nashville won a playoff round for the first time. "Today's announcement is further recognition by the Predators' ownership group of the outstanding job David has done as President of Hockey Operations since the franchise's inception," Predators chairman Thomas G. Cigarran said in a statement announcing the move. "The consistent success of the Predators on the ice is directly attributed to his ability to assemble and lead a team of management, coaches, scouts and administrators who continually identify, draft, develop and motive an exceptional group of experienced and young players. The ownership group believes that under his leadership, the Nashville Predators will soon achieve its goal of winning the Stanley Cup." Poile's extension is significant in that it comes at a critical time for the franchise, as two of its cornerstones are in the final seasons of their respective contracts. All-Star defenseman Ryan Suter is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent on July 1 and fellow All-Star defenseman Shea Weber will become a restricted free agent on the same date. The extension is a sign to each player's agent that Poile, 62, is the man with whom they will deal and that he will continue to be the architect of the team going forward. Under Poile, the franchise also has been among the NHL's best in terms of player development. Two Philadelphia Flyers All-Stars this season, defenseman Kimmo Timonen and forward Scott Hartnell, are both Predators' products, with the team forced to trade them at a time of ownership uncertainty. Also, Ray Shero, who guided the Pittsburgh Penguins to a Stanley Cup as general manager, was Poile's assistant general manager before taking the job in Pittsburgh. Fenton, who oversees Nashville's minor league operation, player development and drafting, also has a reputation as a top player development mind. "Paul's vast experience in the game, from playing at the NHL level to scouting and evaluation, combine to make him an integral and invaluable member of our organization," Poile said in a statement. "We're thrilled that he will continue to play a key role in our hockey operations."
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