The Nashville Predators have made their first major move in the post-David Poile era.
After missing the playoffs for the first time since 2013-14, the Predators are changing things up behind the bench, firing John Hynes and replacing him with Andrew Brunette.
Hynes posted a 247-134-95 record in four seasons as Nashville's head coach. He led the team to the playoffs three times, but the Predators lost in the first round on each occasion.
Brunette has a limited resume as an NHL head coach, but led the Florida Panthers to a 51-18-6 record on an interim basis in 2021-22. His work for the Panthers earned him a Jack Adams Award finalist nod, but Darryl Sutter ultimately brought home the hardware.
Picking Brunette is the first major decision the Predators' new front-office regime has made. Poile was the only general manager in the franchise's history and veteran coach Barry Trotz — who was behind the bench for the Predators between 1998 and 2014 — will take over on July 1.
This season, Brunette served as the associated head coach of the New Jersey Devils. He oversaw a power play that ranked 13th in the NHL in efficiency (21.9%).
"When I look at our roster and those in our system, we have a lot of fast, skilled players and we will likely select more of those types of players in this year's draft," Trotz said in a press release. "We want to become more of an offensive team and Andrew specializes on that side of the ice - he lived it as a player, and he coaches it as a coach. He is as good of an offensive teacher and power-play coach as there is in the game today."
Although Brunette doesn't have the longest track record as a head coach, he had a 16-year NHL career and served in a variety of roles with the Minnesota Wild from assistant coach to assistant general manager between 2014 and 2019 before joining the Panthers.
"I am super excited to be back in Nashville and a part of the Predators organization," Brunette said. "I feel like this is coming full circle for my career - from pulling on the jersey for the first time 25 years ago to returning now to take care of some unfinished business.
"It has been awesome to see how this city and its fanbase have grown since I played here and I look forward to continuing the legacy and the culture behind the bench that Barry cultivated that inaugural season."