It wasn't the trophy he wanted, but David Poile will celebrate the 20th anniversary of being named Predators' General Manager with some hardware. Poile was named NHL G.M. of the Year Wednesday night at the league's awards in Las Vegas.
Poile referred to it as an organizational award in his acceptance speech, but no one deserves more credit for the team that took the ice in the Predators first ever trip to the Stanley Cup Final than him.
Poile has built the Nashville franchise from expansion team to playoff team and now to contender through expert drafting and some savvy trades.
The Preds' most successful team ever featured a mix of homegrown talent, like goaltender Pekka Rinne, defensemen Ryan Ellis and Roman Josi and forwards Viktor Arvidsson and Calle Jarnkrok, and key pieces that were acquired in gutsy deals made by the G.M. Captain Mike Fisher was acquired in a deadline deal in 2011. High-scoring wings Filip Forsberg and James Neal were picked up in trades at the end of disappointing seasons in 2012 and 2013
It was at that point that Poile went all in on making this team a championship contender. He fired longtime coach Barry Trotz and replaced him with a Stanley Cup winner in Peter Laviolette.
He also made a pair of risky trades. First, dealing top prospect Seth Jones to Columbus in order to get a talented, young centermen in Ryan Johansen. Then, last summer, he traded longtime team captain Shea Weber to the Canadiens in exchange for fellow All-Star defensemen P.K. Subban.
The moves made the Predators a faster, more offensive team closer aligned to the way Poile and Laviolette view the NHL game to be moving. The results were clear, as the Preds defeated the Blackhawks, Blues and Ducks on the way to the Stanley Cup Final, where they lost in six games to a Penguins' team that repeated as champions.
Poile appears to have the Predators set up for the long haul. Next season will be his 36th as a NHL G.M., moving him in front of the great Jack Adams and Glen Sather as the longest consecutively tenured G.M. in league history.
It's the fourth time that Poile has been nominated for the G.M. of the Year Award, but the first time he has taken home the prestigious honor.
The award is voted on by league coaches, executives and a panel of hockey media.