President of Hockey Operations/General Manager and Alternate Governor
The third-longest tenured General Manager in National Hockey League history, Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/ General Manager David Poile has spent 31 consecutive years at the helm of a fran¬chise (16 with Nashville, 15 with Washington) dating back to Aug. 30, 1982 when he was hired by the Washington Capitals. He is the only general manager in NHL history to be at the helm of two different clubs for 1,000 games and 500 victories, attaining both marks in 2011-12, and is the lone person to be a finalist for the General Manager of the Year Award for each of its first three years of the award’s existence (2010, 2011 and 2012). Poile also added the honor of a lifetime to his resume on June 28, 2013, when he was named General Manager of the United States Olympic Team for the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi.
Poile enters the 2013-14 campaign ranked second all-time in games (2,294) by a general manager – trailing only Glen Sather (2,536) – and third in wins (1,113) behind Sather (1,221) and longtime Boston Bruins executive Harry Sinden (1,170). On March 21, 2010 at St. Louis, he picked up his 1,000th win as a general manager in a 3-2 Predators victory.
As the architect of a club built on speed, skill and steadfast work ethic, Poile’s philosophy of building through home-grown talent and effective drafting continues to pay dividends, as 22 of 34 players to suit up for the Predators in 2012-13 were developed by the club, tying a franchise record set in 2011-12. That list is sure to grow after a strong 2013 Entry Draft crop, which included defenseman Seth Jones, the fourth overall selection, who Nashville had rated their No. 1 player in the draft the past two seasons.
The Predators are built around a pair of homegrown products in two-time Vezina Trophy finalist Pekka Rinne in goal – who Poile signed to a seven-year contract in November 2011 – and two-time Norris Trophy runner-up Shea Weber – who became the recipient of the second-largest contract in NHL history when Poile matched a 14-year, $110 million offer sheet in July 2012. Nashville’s first-ever draft selection, David Legwand (second overall, 1998), has been a mainstay in the lineup for the last decade and a half, while gifted forwards Patric Hornqvist – the final pick of the 2005 Entry Draft (230th overall) – Colin Wilson (2008), Gabriel Bourque (2009), Tay¬lor Beck (2009) and Craig Smith (2009) add punch to the offensive attack. Joining Weber on the blue line is fellow 2003 draftee Kevin Klein – who signed a five-year deal in September 2012 – Roman Josi (2008) – the recipient of a seven-year contract during the summer of 2013 – in addition to promising youngsters Ryan Ellis (2009), Mattias Ekholm (2009) and Jones.
Poile has also been one of the busiest GMs in recent years consistently supplementing Nashville’s drafted talent with players who fit the organization’s philosophy via free agency and trades. His biggest coup in recent seasons through trade came on April 3, 2013, when he acquired highly touted prospect Filip Forsberg from Washington. Forsberg, selected 11th overall in the 2012 Entry Draft, was rated the third-best player by Poile’s staff, but slipped due to a run of defensemen being drafted. On the opening day of free agency on July 5, 2013, Poile was the busiest he’s ever been on the open market, signing a blend of Stanley Cup-winning experience in Matt Cullen and Viktor Stalberg, with gritty role-playing forwards Matt Hendricks and Eric Nystrom. The Predators also signed goal¬tender Carter Hutton to back-up Rinne on Day One of free agency.
The team’s newest additions are nothing new – alternate captain and top-six forward Mike Fisher was acquired from Ottawa in February 2011, and center Paul Gaustad, perennially one of the top face-off and penalty killing players in the NHL, was snagged at the 2012 trade deadline.
Under Poile’s direction, the Predators have been one of the top teams in the NHL since evolving from an expansion team in the early 2000s, to a bona fide contender. Since the start of 2005-06, Nashville’s 336 wins ranks sixth-best in the league, while 192 home victories puts them fourth in the NHL.
The aggressive team-building plan implemented by Poile from the franchise’s inception has helped the organization earn the reputa¬tion as one of the most stable, well-built teams in the NHL. Crucial to the plan’s success is the ability to make the right selections and develop the young prospects. Poile has assembled a bright staff of personnel charged with those responsibilities, including assistant general manager Paul Fenton, chief amateur scout Jeff Kealty, and a coaching staff led by Barry Trotz.
Poile has long been a proponent of a strong developmental system as a means to develop blossoming young players into productive NHL players. The Predators’ primary developmental affiliate, the American Hockey League’s Milwaukee Admirals, captured the first Calder Cup Championship in franchise history in 2004 and revisited the Calder Cup Finals in 2006. They made their 11th consecutive trip to the Calder Cup Playoffs in 2013, making them the only franchise to attain the feat. Milwaukee has won four division titles in the past 10 seasons and became the first team in AHL history to post 40-or-more wins and 90-or-more points in eight consecutive seasons from 2002-03 to 2010-11, each season with a team predominately made up of Predators prospects.
Poile’s wisdom and experience is clearly valued throughout the hockey world, as evidenced by his selection to the post of General Manager of the U.S. Olympic Team. He was associate general manager for the 2010 United States Olympic Team, and helped select the team that would become one of the headline stories of the 2010 Games, capturing the hearts of a nation en route to a silver medal. He was a member of the U.S. National Team Advisory Group for the second consecutive International Ice Hockey Federation World Championships in 2013, helping construct a team that claimed the nation’s first medal (bronze) since 2004. He also served as associate GM for the U.S.’s entries into the 2009 and 2010 editions of the tournament, and as general manager at the 1998 and 1999 Worlds.
He was also selected as one of four NHL general managers to sit on the first NHL competition committee in 2005, a spot he still holds today. The steering body formulates and recommends rule changes for approval by the NHL Board of Governors. In this role, he helped usher in the new era of NHL hockey – featuring on-ice innovations such as the regular-season shootout and more recently the grandfathering in of visors and the shallowing of nets – while at the same time drawing upon the wealth of experience accumulated through his many years in the game. The Competition Committee continues to be one of the most influential bodies in the game today.
Poile’s third straight GM of the Year nomination in 2011-12 came after the team finished with a 48-26-8 record (104 points), the third-best record in the Western Conference, fifth-best in the NHL, and good for home-ice advantage in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The 2011-12 edition of the Predators were one of only four teams to finish in the Top 10 in both goals for (eighth) and goals against (eighth), and one of three teams to rank in the League’s Top 10 in both power-play percentage (first) and penalty kill percentage (10th). In 2010-11, Nashville earned the fifth seed in the Western Conference (99 points) and gave up the third-fewest goals in the League (190) despite missing nearly 350 man-games due to injury, and in 2009-10, Poile constructed a team that was one of 11 to hit the 100-point mark, despite having a payroll ranked 28th in the League, to earn a spot as a finalist for the inaugural General Manager of the Year Award.
In 2006-07, when Poile was recognized by The Sporting News as its Executive of the Year, an honor he had received twice previously (1982-83 and 1983-84) and which is determined through a vote of his peers, after the Predators finished the season with the second-most points in the Western Conference and tied for the third-most points in the entire National Hockey League. The Predators established franchise records in points (110), wins (51), road wins (23) and goals (272) during the campaign. Locally, Business TN magazine honored him as the magazine’s “CEO of the Year” for 2006 based on his consistent and successful track record as the team’s architect.
In 2001, Poile was a recipient of the Lester Patrick Award in recognition of contributions to hockey in the United States. Poile has devoted his professional career to hockey and the NHL, particularly in non-traditional markets. His late father, Bud Poile, also a recipient of the Lester Patrick Award (1989) and a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame (1990), served as general manager of two expansion franchises – first in Philadelphia (1967) and then in Vancouver (1970). David Poile began his professional career as an administrative assistant with the Atlanta Flames expansion franchise in 1972 and spent 10 years with the organization before being named general manager of the Washington Capitals in 1982. The 2013-14 campaign will mark his 41st in the NHL.
For the 1982-83 season, Poile took the reins of a Washington team that had nev¬er made the Stanley Cup Playoffs. In his 15 years there, the Capitals advanced to the postseason 14 times. The 1997-98 Capitals, largely comprised of players Poile acquired, advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals. During his 15-year tenure, the Caps compiled a record of 596-454-124 (.559), ranking among the NHL’s top-five teams during that span.
Poile was instrumental in the League’s adoption of the instant replay rule in 1991. He was awarded Inside Hockey’s Man of the Year award for his leadership on the issue.
A graduate of Northeastern University in Boston, Poile was hockey team captain, leading scorer and most valuable player for two years, earning a place in the University’s Hall of Fame.
Poile also serves as an alternate governor for the team and in December 2007, he added President of Hockey Operations to his title. For the past three seasons, Poile has donated to Operation Homefront (which provides emergency assistance and morale to our U.S. Troops), USA Hockey and the Peterson for Parkinson’s Foundation for every Predators victory.
He and his wife, Elizabeth, reside in Nashville. The Poiles have two children – daughter Lauren and son Brian – who serves as the Predators Director of Hockey Operations – and two granddaughters – Ellie and Charlotte.
Longest tenured general managers:
|Jack Adams||DET||35||1927-28 to 1961-62|
|Glen Sather||EDM, NYR||33||1980-81 to 2012-13|
|David Poile||WSH, NSH||31||1982-83 to 2012-13|
|Conn Smythe||TOR||30||1927-28 to 1956-57|
|Art Ross||BOS||30||1924-25 to 1953-54|