Nashville Predators Bolster Coaching Staff with Hiring of Dan Hinote

Right wing Dan Hinote #13 of the Colorado Avalanche (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images/NHLI)
Right wing Dan Hinote #13 of the Colorado Avalanche (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images/NHLI) /

While the NHL is getting closer to crowning a Stanley Cup champion for 2020, the Nashville Predators are making changes to become relevant again.

The NHL free agency period is around a month away, and the Nashville Predators figure to be both buyers and sellers in that period. But they’re already making changes in their coaching staff.

The Predators have officially announced the hiring of a new assistant coach, Dan Hinote, made official Thursday:

The Predators have really lost their way over the past few seasons. A disconnect between the players and coaches has seemed to grow, and that usually results in early exits in the playoffs.

At this point we have to welcome change as the Predators look to avoid slipping into a deep rebuild that might keep them out of the playoffs for the foreseeable future.

Changing the culture

All of the pressure is usually put on the head coach, and rightfully so, but how the assistant coaches are constructed is just as important.

For Head Coach John Hynes, he’s getting the chance to mold his team the way he wants it during his first offseason with the Nashville Predators.

More from Predlines

It looks like the team is trying to get more “players’ coaches” as Hinote is a former Stanley Cup champion as a player nearly two decades ago with the Colorado Avalanche. His reputation as a player is he was a strong leader on the ice.

These types of coaches are getting hired all over the sports world. Bringing in coaches that the players can relate to more, and coaches who see it from a different perspective as a former player.

Hinote also has minor experience coaching in the NHL as an assistant and as a scout with the Columbus Blue Jackets. But he doesn’t have loads of NHL coaching experience, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Here’s what GM David Poile had to say about the hire, per the team’s official website:

"“In this assistant coach position, we were looking for a former player who was fairly recently retired but still had coaching experience, and Dan fit that description perfectly. He builds strong connections with players – including Ryan Johansen in his time in Columbus”"

Poile also went on to say that Hinote has playing experience with other former Predators players, including current Predators broadcaster Chris Mason.

Hinote definitely looks like an instant fit with the organization. How that will translate to changes through player development will be interesting to see as the Predators are expected to have somewhat of a youth movement next season.

A players’ coach like Hinote could end up being very beneficial as developing prospects be more well-rounded NHL players. In this case I’m thinking about young players like Eeli Tolvanen, Rem Pitlick, Alexandre Carrier, Philip Tomasino, Yakov Trenin and even Dante Fabbro.

The past relationship with Ryan Johansen makes this hire even more intriguing as the Predators look to get more consistency out of their top players.

Hinote also coached recently as an associate for the Under-17 team for Team USA, gaining vital experience there at developing younger players. This is a big reason why this hire is encouraging.

David Poile's Last Stand as Predators GM Next Season?. light. Related Story

The real test for Hynes as head coach for the Predators starts next season, and surrounding himself with a top-notch coaching staff will be very important. This hire of Hinote shows promise that the staff will build a better connection with the players.

It’s not always the big free agency splashes that change the direction of a team. Sometimes the subtle coaching staff changes can make huge impacts as well.