Nashville Predators: Why David Poile Has Regained Some Trust

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - DECEMBER 12: David Poile speaks to the media at the U.S. Hockey Hall Of Fame Induction on December 12, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - DECEMBER 12: David Poile speaks to the media at the U.S. Hockey Hall Of Fame Induction on December 12, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images) /

There is no doubt that the seat was getting warm for Nashville Predators‘ GM David Poile coming into this offseason.  After the team has been in a downward spiral since 2017 and had a near catastrophic start to last season, there were many predicting that 2020-2021 would be his last at the helm.

Fast forward a few months and Poile still has his job as the only general manager in team history, and it doesn’t look like he is losing it anytime soon.  And quite honestly, he has earned the right to stay.

My main worry heading into the offseason was that Poile was going to be impressed enough with last year’s late surge to keep the core around for at least another season.  Obviously, that hasn’t happened at all, and that is not the only reason to commend his work.

In a busy offseason that included the Seattle Kraken expansion draft, Poile has made some very critical decisions and quality signings at positions of need.  It is pleasantly surprising to say that none of the moves he has made look bad, at least right now.

Several moves make big statement about Nashville Predators

I wrote a piece back in July on how the Viktor Arvidsson trade showed that Poile is not overly loyal to his players.  Turned out that was just the beginning, as Ryan Ellis was traded just over two weeks later.

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But maybe the biggest statement of all came just the next morning, when Tanner Jeannot was listed on the Predators’ expansion draft protection list. That decision by Poile was the correct one, so I will not beat a dead horse, but I do want to emphasize that this move is not being talked about enough.

Some of Poile’s other moves have been re-signing Jeannot and Dante Fabbro to reasonable rates, and bringing back Eeli Tolvanen on a deal that has a real chance to make look like a ridiculous underpayment.

Bringing in David Rittich as a cheap, but formidable back-up for Juuse Saros cannot be under-stated, as well as avoiding arbitration with Saros and locking him up to a contract that also has a real chance to be a steal.

Poile’s only notable move that was a bit controversial was re-signing Mikael Granlund to a four-year, $20M contract.  Even then, he was consistent down the stretch and was best alongside Luke Kunin, one of the team’s future building blocks moving forward.

Not only have these moves been financially reasonable, but each one was made with a very clear purpose, whereas last offseason’s moves felt like Poile was stockpiling depth for no reason.  There is clearly more of a reason to be optimistic about him and his managing of the Predators from here on out.

Poile still has more to prove

A lot of people, especially Predators fans, will read this article and only think about how Poile overpaid several players of the previous core and failed to lead them to a Stanley Cup.  But I implore you to take a step back and think about what he has accomplished this offseason.

Did I say the guy is perfect?  Absolutely not.  Did I say that he has locked himself into having his job for years and years into the future?  Not even.

All Poile has shown this offseason is that he is aware of the team’s situation and is making decisions to best equip them for the future.  And for a team that is in a transition phase, that is all you can ask for.

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We don’t know how he will handle the team moving forward, nor do we know how this offseason’s moves will pan out.  Expectations are and will be high for Poile from this point on, and his past shows that has plenty of areas to improve upon.

As of this moment, we have to be satisfied with the work he has done this summer.  Maybe it’s not such a bad thing to have some faith when it’s warranted.