Barry Trotz returns to Nashville, will replace Poile as GM
Barry Trotz became the Nashville Predators’ first coach back in 1997.
Now he will become the team’s second general manager on July 1.
On Sunday, David Poile announced his plans to retire as GM on June 30 after 26 years with the Predators.
Trotz and Poile were reunited at Bridgestone Arena on Monday as Trotz was introduced as his replacement. Poile, 73, will remain as an adviser.
The two men have known each other for 41 years, dating back to Poile’s time as the Washington Capitals’ GM.
“It was my first training camp with the Capitals (in 1982) and Barry was an undrafted player,” Poile said of their first meeting.
Trotz was cut, but Washington hired him as a scout before he went into coaching.
He is the NHL’s third winningest coach with 914 victories, including stints with Washington where he won a Stanley Cup in 2018 and the New York Islanders from 2018-22.
Poile said Trotz, 60, turned down several coaching jobs during the offseason and Poile told Trotz this would be his last season as GM.
“Around, I’d say, Christmastime, he kind of said I’m not gonna coach anymore and he said could I talk to you about being a candidate for the GM position,” Poile said. “And from that time it went pretty fast with he and I talking and ownership getting involved, and probably by mid-January we probably had that done.”
Trotz is confident he can make the transition from coach to general manager.
“I thought long and hard about this,” Trotz said. “How coaches, how managers operate --- you’ve got to work together and I’ve always tried to do that with David. He’s mentored me.”
Nashville made three trades over the weekend, but Trotz plans to reset rather than rebuild.
“We are resetting, we are collecting assets,” Trotz said. “There are some good players. There could be six first-round picks in Milwaukee (Nashville’s AHL affiliate) next year, so there are people coming.”
Trotz is keeping an open mind about Predators coach John Hynes, who is 121-86-16 in his fourth year in Nashville.
The Predators are six points out of the second wild-card spot after falling in the first round of the playoffs the past three seasons.
“I’ve been in coaching for a long time so I know when a team is well-coached,” Trotz said. “John is a really good coach. The biggest thing for me is from now until the end of the season, I’m just gonna evaluate.”
Nashville will host the NHL Draft for the second time in June.
“We haven’t been able to get that franchise-changing center iceman,” Trotz said. “We haven’t been that poor to get that and there’s some luck. There are some guys that changed franchises that got drafted later.”
Trotz will get a chance to help shape the Predators’ future at the draft with his input, but cautioned that it requires patience.
“It’s not like football,” Trotz said. “Football, guys are coming out of college. They’re either 22, 23, 24, 25, and they’re men. We’re drafting 18-year-olds.”
Trotz said it takes six years for a lot of draft prospects to make an impact.
Poile exits as the NHL’s winningest GM with 1,519 victories in 39 years, but Nashville has won only one playoff series since making the Stanley Cup Finals in 2017.
“I’ve got two loves in my life: my family and hockey,” Poile said. “I’m so lucky.”
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Chip Cirillo, The Associated Press