All eyes and ears were focused on David Poile press conference to officially introduce Barry Trotz as the second General Manager of the Nashville Predators.
Fangvision was brought down for a backdrop with the Nashville Predators logo on the screen and the seats were set up on the covered ice at Bridgestone Arena.
After 41 years of being a General Manager, and 26 years in Nashville, David Poile is ready to pass the torch on to the next man for the job. Not just anyone, but Barry Trotz, the Nashville Predators’ first head coach.
"“It’s good to be back home I am really really thrilled for this opportunity it’s been a full circle dream if you will,” Trotz said. “I just want to thank David. In 1997 he gave me a phone call and said he wanted to hire me and he gave me that job and took a chance on the least experienced person he knew and he’s probably going to make that same mistake again.”"
The crowd laughed as Trotz took numerous avenues down memory lane reflecting on his first season in Nashville and a whole lot more.
Poile and Trotz were working on the transition behind the scenes
After working with Poile for a few months as an advisor Trotz will continue to do so in the transition period until July 1. Then Poile will advise for the Predators on the side.
"“Just do what’s right and do what’s right at this point in time in my life and career,” Trotz said. “I asked that question and it feels right for me so I made that decision and said I was going to step away from coaching and pursue this with the same vigor that I did when I coached.”"
The duo picked up the conversation as the holidays wrapped up and Trotz still hadn’t taken another job in the NHL after being relieved of his duties with the New York Islanders last May.
"“As friends, we talked about family and Barry knew he was coming back to Nashville,” Poile said. “This was going to be his home regardless of whether he was coaching or doing anything else in hockey. That was the first opportunity to advance the conversation.”"
It was around Christmas time Trotz had told Poile he wasn’t going to coach anymore.
“From that time it went pretty fast from he and I talking and ownership getting involved and by mid-January we had that done,” Poile said.
During Trotz’s time in Nashville, he developed the ‘Predator Way’ when he was at the helm. He coached the first 1,196 games for the Predators going 557-479-60-100 and now he embarks on a new venture with the organization.
“I’ve already got a lot of sweat equity in the Predators organization,” Trotz said. “I have the Predator DNA, it’s never gone away, and it’s important for me because I live here, I want to have that parade.”
“It’s special and I want it to continue to be special. It’s a special place to live and it’s a special place to come and get hockey and entertainment. We’re just missing one thing and that’ll be my pursuit.”
Trotz had what he called his “summer” back in November to December to feel “refreshed” after taking care of his parents some and settling down.
A few teams reached out to the seasoned coach who is No. 2 all-time in games coached (1,812) but he told organizations he needed some more time to think about it.
“I think I have enough tools in my toolbox where I can be successful at this, Trotz said. “The main thing is, and I did this in coaching, you surround yourself with really good people and you have a chance to succeed all the time and I’ve got great people in Scott Nichol, Jeff Kealty, and Brian Poile. I know the staff that’s in that room and I know some of the players I actually coached some of them which is a unique thing.”
Trotz has been around players like Roman Josi, Mattias Ekholm, Colton Sissons, and Filip Forsberg (13 games) back in his final season coaching in Nashville during the 2013-14 season.
Poile will still remain within the organization as an advisor and hopes he continues to get phone calls from Trotz as he navigates his first year as a new GM.
One of Trotz’s biggest items on his agenda is evaluating his head coach position. He said Hynes is a “good coach” and he’s been around many great coaches.
"“From now until the end of the season I’m just going to evaluate,” Trotz said. “It’s easy to sit up and watch and judge. That’s the easiest thing in the world to do. But when you’re with people day in and day out it’s way different. What my assessment would be right now would be unfair.”"
Another thing on Trotz’s radar is that this franchise has not been ‘poor enough’ to draft so high to acquire a star player. Taking the time to develop his teams will be a key factor as he takes over and looks at what he wants to bring in.
"“I use the term that you have to wait until they turn 24 so there’s a six-year period of marinating,” Trotz said. “That’s the one missing piece and we have to try and acquire it and most of the top-end talent at center ice we’ve acquired through trade with this franchise. We just have to develop that part and find that guy. We will we have good scouts here in the league.”"
The process for Trotz starts now. He has the rest of this season to work with Poile and by October it’ll be him who stands at the mouth of the cave with a torch and has 82 games to endure with this franchise but this time as the general manager.
"“I’m all about the team and you can accomplish a lot as a group, Trotz said. “If you want to go fast go by yourself, if you want to go far then go with a group. I always believe that the strength is in the group and that shows in the teams that I’ve had.”"