David Poile deserves credit for a strong offseason

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As the Nashville Predators waned from Stanley Cup Finals glory, we’ve seen general manager David Poile make plenty of jaw-dropping moves and backlash from the fans. It’s been tough – from accusatory questions at press conferences to numerous #FirePoile tweets for the 72-year-old executive, there’s plenty of criticism aimed at the chief executive.

In sports, coaches and executives “get hired to get fired”. It is very rare that teams reach the promised land without having a stir in their staff. The Predators fired the head coach who took them to the Cup final. But after not making it past the second lap outside of the one miracle race, there was no change in the GM position. And the majority of people aren’t happy with that – and for good reason.

It is very rare for team managers to hold the same position for 24 years. For those who are, one look at their trophy case is all there is to say. But as much good as Poile has done for the Predators franchise — lifting them out of the dirt and building a franchise that erases the stigma that hockey can’t survive in the south — the sands of his career as general manager are almost over. exhausted. However, while he’s still sitting in the seat, every fan should be cheering him on to make the best moves possible for the franchise, as it doesn’t look like his managerial career will end with a Donald Trump-esque, “you you’re fired.”

The good news is that in the 2022 offseason, he did. Although the team was swept for the first time in franchise history, thanks to the Colorado Avalanche, Poile actively improved the roster and continued to draft well.

Trading Mathieu Olivier to the Columbus Blue Jackets for a 4th round pick they received from the Toronto Maple Leafs was the first domino to fall for the Predators. Not bad for a player who couldn’t find a consistent spot after Tanner Jeannot won his position on the Herd Line. Then, a few days later, Poile made the blockbuster trade for Ryan McDonagh from the Tampa Bay Lightning. Not only did he bring in a defenseman with Stanley Cup experience, but he did so for the meager price of Philippe Myers and Grant Mismash. Of course, this trade required accepting the 33-year-old’s nearly $7 million contract, which could end up biting them. However, given the stance management has taken on the competitiveness of the roster, it looks like that bridge will be crossed when we get there.

After that, Poile moved Luke Kunin west to the San Jose Sharks in exchange for John Leonard. From the first to the fourth line, the winger hasn’t had a good season, and considering the amount of money owed to him, the only right decision was to let him go. If the Predators re-signed him, I don’t think I would consider the offseason a failure, but there would definitely be a stain.

As for what he’s done outside of the commercial market, his signings have been good for the most part. Excluding the odd 4-year extension given to Jeremy Lauzon, I was, like many others, happy with the contracts awarded to Filip Forsberg, Nino Niederreiter and Yakov Trenin, among other players.

Finally, there is the draft. Poile is involved in this part, but he is not the one providing the vital information on who to choose and what options might be available. Nonetheless, the Predators had another great draft under his watch, with arguably the first-round steal of Finnish sniper Joakim Kemell, who I’ve written about here.

The 2022 offseason was something to be proud of if you were currently in the GM seat. Needs were met, players were re-signed to fair contracts, and the draft went well on most, if not all, accounts. And while an offseason may not be able to overturn the majority opinion, fans should give him props to set roster goals, accomplish them, and not stray too far from the bottom. Well done, Mr Poile.

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