In the history of the team, the Nashville Predators have had one general manager: David Poile. So, when he announced that he would retire as the club’s general manager and president of hockey operations, it marked the end of an era and a piece of NHL history.
Poile joined the newly created team on July 9, 1997, and, under his tenure, the Predators made 15 postseason appearances in the club’s 25-year history. His tenure included eight consecutive postseason appearances, which was the second-longest active streak in the NHL before it ended this season. Poile was even named the NHL’s General Manager of the Year in 2017, when the Predators advanced to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in franchise history, though they ultimately lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games.
“This is a decision that is best for me personally and best for the Nashville Predators,” Poile said. “For the Predators, I believe it is time for a new voice and a new direction. I am proud of the foundation we have put in place in our hockey operations, investing in and improving every area of the department. This is the right time for someone else to move our franchise forward.”
That someone else is a familiar face: Barry Trotz.
Barry Trotz’s history with the Nashville Predators
Effective July 1st, Barry Trotz will take over as the general manager and president of hockey operations for the club. Trotz most recently served in the NHL as the head coach for the New York Islanders, who relieved him of his duties last season after missing the playoffs. He did not coach this season.
Trotz is the winningest coach in franchise history and was also the team’s first coach. When the team announced the change in February, the Predators revealed that Trotz would spend four months working as an advisor for the team to help with a smooth transition and a takeover after the NHL draft at Bridgestone Arena on June 28-29.
The state of the Nashville Predators
Looking to the future, the Predators have a ton of cornerstone pieces they can build a solid team around. And Trotz is familiar with a lot of the faces. The soon-to-be general manager has Filip Forsberg, who is the highest-scoring forward in franchise history, to build the team around. He’s signed for $8.5 million through the 2029-30 season, and the 28-year-old seems to have a knack for finding the back of the net.
The Predators also boast a superstar goalie in Juuse Saros, and the 28-year-old is signed for $5 million through the 2024-25 season. The captain Roman Josi is signed on the team’s blue line for just over $9 million through 2027-28. Those three pieces alone are a solid starting point, but factoring in youngsters Tommy Novak, Cal Foote, and Philip Tomasino, Trotz, and the Predators have a lot to work with. Add in solid secondary players like Matt Duchene and Tyson Barrie, and it’s beginning to look like a core group that could really give the league some trouble.
The Predators narrowly missed the playoffs this season, so they’ll have to make some sort of adjustments (especially since they lost gritty forward Tanner Jeannot at the trade deadline), but Trotz will just have to make moves to beef up the roster and add depth that can make a stretch run. The free agent pool is weak this year, though, so Trotz will likely have to test the trade waters when transactions can resume on July 1 (which also coincides with his first day in the new role).
Trotz has a solidly built roster to work with and improve on and the knowledge of the personnel to step in and act quickly. And he seems to have his head in the game. “My heart has been in Nashville since that first season in 1998-99,” Trotz said. “I believe our team and our fanbase has developed a relationship that is very unique in sports today, and I am excited to be returning home to the organization and the city where I held my first head coaching job in the NHL.
I can’t thank David enough, not only for turning over the job to me, but for teaching me so much over the past 40 years. I believe I am prepared to succeed as an NHL general manager, and I have David to thank for that. I will work hard as a member of David’s team for the next four months, and when I become GM on July 1, I pledge to do everything I can in leading our franchise to its first-ever Stanley Cup.”
It’s clear Trotz has high aspirations in his new role. How quickly he can deliver on that vision remains to be seen, but there are plenty of reasons for optimism in Nashville with Trotz on board.