The Nashville Predator’s success is credited to just one person: General Manager David Poile. With a win tonight, he becomes the GM with the most wins ever.
For twenty years, the Nashville Predators have been a part of the National Hockey League. During the entire history of the franchise, one man has been at the center of everything. From day one to today, he has witnessed every transaction, every trip, and every game. From the very beginning of the Predators, there has been David Poile.
If you ask any Predators’ fan, they will tell you that Poile is the best General Manager in the game. Ask NHL fans at large where they rank him, you may get somewhere in the top ten. But, evidence shows that Poile is the best general manager in the game today.
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With one statistic, we can establish Poile’s claim to being the best. After winning in Winnipeg on Tuesday, Poile collected win number 1319 in his career. With one more win, he becomes the general manager with the most wins in the 100-year history of the NHL. Before coming to the Nashville Predators, Poile served as General Manager of the Washington Capitals (1982-97), amassing a record of 594-454-124. With the Predators, his record is 725-574-145. That means his career record as a general manager is 1319-1028-269. That is 2907 points.
But, there is more to it. Teams under Poile guidance missed the playoffs eight times. Think about that for a second. Since 1982, Poile’s teams were in the playoffs 24 times, with 25 coming this year. The only drawback is those teams only made the Stanley Cup Final once. And they didn’t win.
Poile’s tenure in Nashville furthers the argument for him to be considered the best GM in the game. He built this team from scratch. The ability to make a major player-for-player trade to create a championship contending team is amazing. Shea Weber for P.K. Subban. Seth Jones for Ryan Johansen. Also trading for a young Filip Forsberg, adding Kyle Turris. And keeping the nucleus of the team in place for multiple years. The Nashville Predators will contend for quite a while.
Not only did Poile build a team, he built a fanbase. Last year, ESPN named the Nashville Predators the best franchise in all of sports. When the team started in Nashville in 1998, the fans needed to be educated about the rules of hockey. Now, they are the most energetic and spirit group around, and know the game just as well as any of the Original Six teams. The atmosphere outside of Bridgestone Arena during the Stanley Cup Final was bigger than a Super Bowl (and I know from experience). The Vegas Golden Knights used the template from the Predators to create their game atmosphere. Imitation is the best form of flattery.
Most wins. Making the playoffs in 75% of his seasons. Willing to make tough decisions for the team to succeed. And doing it for over three decades. He built the Nashville Predators into a perennial Cup contender. David Poile may not have a Stanley Cup to his name, but he is the best General Manager in the NHL.