On December 12th, 2018, Nashville Predators GM David Poile was inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame. He joins Gordon “Red” Berenson, Natalie Darwitz, Leland “Hago” Harrington, and Paul Stewart in this year’s induction class. This is obviously a monumental achievement for Mr. Poile and the Preds organization in total. Back in March of this year, the Preds notched Poile’s 1,320th victory as an NHL General Manager, making him the winningest GM in NHL history. That number of wins is now up to 1,360! Mr. Poile has been regarded as one of the best executives in the league for some time now, but this cements him as one of the greatest ever.
David Poile started his illustrious career 46 years ago as an admin assistant for the Atlanta Flames (who have since become the Calgary Flames). He would rise through the ranks of the organization and go on to become an assistant GM within 5 years. Another 5 years passed and Mr. Poile was set to take the reins of his own team in Washington. He spent 15 years as GM of the Caps and was no stranger to success as his team made the playoffs 14 out of those 15 years. At the end of the ‘96-’97 season (the only season the Caps didn’t make the playoffs in his tenure), David Poile was told to move on from Washington. This is where our story truly begins.
One fateful day in July of 1997, the Nashville Predators hired David Poile as their first ever General Manager. The brand new expansion team needed to be built from the ground up, and Poile was the architect to do so. It’s been a long time coming (21 years to be exact), but Mr. Poile has almost single-handedly taken this team from the cute expansion team that everyone cheers for to a league powerhouse that no one wants to go up against. Time and time again Poile has shown us his hockey genius with some of the most insane trades and ridiculous Free Agency acquisitions. Not to mention his amazing track record in the Draft as well. In fact, David Poile has completed 302 trades in his NHL career, good for most in the league’s history. The man knows how to acquire talent better than any of his peers, and he knows it. Legends like David Legwand, Paul Kariya, and Peter Forsberg (no relation to Filip Forsberg) have graced the ice in the blue and gold thanks to our head boss.
Take a look at the current Preds roster. Stars like Arvidsson, Smith, Ekholm, Saros, and Rinne were all drafted in the late rounds of their respective draft years. In Rinne’s case, he was taken 258th overall in the 8th round… The 8th round doesn’t even exist anymore. Filip Forsberg and PK Subban are products of two of the most notable trades in league history. Forsberg was acquired from Poile’s old associates in Washington for Martin Erat and Michael Latta in what is widely considered the most lopsided trade in the NHL. Subban came via a trade with Montreal for former Preds captain Shea Weber in the biggest 1-for-1 swap in recent memory. Almost the entirety of the Center core has been produced through various trades. The list goes on and on. I’ve mentioned before that this team is absolutely stacked with talent and that is 100% thanks to David Poile’s expertise in the front office.
Other accolades Mr. Poile has achieved during his outstanding career include the 2017 GM of the Year Award, an Olympic silver medal as associate GM for the U.S. men’s team in 2010, and the Lester Patrick Award for his contributions to U.S. hockey in 2001. With the Predators he has a Western Conference Championship and the Presidents’ Trophy under his belt as well. If it has to do with hockey, Poile’s done just about everything… well almost everything. There’s still a big empty space in his trophy case. Big enough to fit the Stanley Cup. I believe, the fans believe, and David Poile believes this is the year to change that. During his Hall of Fame acceptance speech, Mr. Poile alluded to this belief by commenting, “To the Caps in attendance tonight, take good care of the Cup, because in June, I’m planning on picking it up”. In a league generally run by guys with little personality, that’s some serious heat being thrown, and I love every bit of it! The team looks ready and the fans are poised for another cup run. Mr. Poile is not done winning.
To David Poile and his family, I think I speak for everyone when I say thank you for all you have done. Every bit of praise and accolades are well deserved. You’ve taken an experimental hockey team in the south and turned it into a blooming franchise, and made Nashville into a legitimate hockey town. If it weren’t for your efforts, many of us would not know the magic that is hockey. Thank you!
Let’s Go Preds!