Poile, Trotz expect better for next season

Wednesday, April 23, 2008 at 1:14am

The ice has barely melted at the Sommet Center, but the Nashville Predators’ coaching staff is already looking towards the 2008-2009 season.

The coaching staff, along with David Poile, President of Hockey Operations/General Manager, is heading to Milwaukee today to watch the Admirals play the rest of the week in the American Hockey League playoffs.

“I know we are going to be better and stronger in so many ways next season, “ said Poile. “We have a stable ownership. That is a necessity for us to do our jobs. We have a much more normal situation. I feel bullish on our future.”

Last year in late April, Poile couldn’t say that.

“Sitting here 12 months later you never know how things will turn out,” Poile said. “We were limited in our budget and resources. We had to go out and sign value free agents in Marty Gelinas, Radek Bonk, Jed Ortmeyer and Greg de Vries.

“Marty Gelinas was one of the best players we have ever signed here. When he got hurt we missed his veteran leadership. Radek Bonk got some big goals for us this year. Jed Ortmeyer unfortunately also had an ACL injury like Gelinas. And Greg de Vries was paired with Dan Hamhuis as the No. 1 defensive pairing that was used in shutdown situations.”

Also signed as a free agent last summer was goaltender Dan Ellis. He will be an unrestricted free agent again this summer.

“He was such an unheralded signing that we thought so highly of that we signed him to a two-way contract,” Poile said. “We told him in all likelihood he would spend most of the year in Milwaukee. We know how that turned out.”

With the new ownership group set, Poile had plans to make a major splash at the trade deadline, but he wasn’t able to close on a big player.

“At the 11th hour of the trade deadline we got Jan Hlavac,” Poile said. “I’m sure our coaching staff had to look him up. But I don’t know if we go to the playoffs without Jan.”

Poile saw a lot of good times, but more than his share of bad times.

“When we lost 6-0 at Los Angeles for our sixth straight loss, I just felt rotten,” Poile said. “But we bounced back as a team. It has been a rewarding year for everybody.

“The new ownership team has been fantastic. The fans were also fantastic. At the timeouts the fans were the loudest ever. I have never seen that before. I really feel that the Predators are here for the long run.”

Coach Barry Trotz would like for the 2008-2009 season to be a little less challenging on a number of fronts.

“It was the toughest group to gauge,” Trotz said. “It was the toughest group to really get a handle on. But it was a group that responded the best in very trying times.

“We had a lot of adversity. It was sort of amazing at times how we did things. But we got it done. It wasn’t a storybook start. It was horror story, but we got things going. This group really bought in. And they had to buy in.”

While the composition of next year’s team is uncertain Trotz thinks this year’s team laid a firm foundation.

“There were a lot of reasons why they shouldn’t have made the playoffs,” Trotz said. “They never used any of those excuses. They just got it done.

“I like to build an organization with character, resiliency and a no-excuse attitude. They gave us a renewed foundation.”

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By: courier37027 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Cliff Notes version of this story: "Wait 'Til Next Year". Same story we get from any sports team whose season just ended. NCP should file this story under cookie cutter articles, where team name and stats changed. I think this article was modified from the Vanderbilt loss to Siena offering a month ago.

By: OneTimer on 12/31/69 at 6:00

No, the Vandy loss to Siena was a much worse way to bow out. That game still makes me mad. Preds had a great year.

By: nashbeck on 12/31/69 at 6:00

um courier37027 im going to have to disagree with you. The Predators were in the running for the most points last year, and then with the team being sold and then our players leaving the team, no one gave us a chance. It is a great story, and if you wanna be negative about it go ahead, I loved this season and thank you so much NASHVILLE Predators.

By: gdiafante on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Yeah, great season. Most people, who are actually informed of the situation, realize we overachieved with what we had. The others just like to complain.Courier, why don't you email your hero Plaster, or did he have a restraining order issued?

By: courier37027 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Gdia, I won't pursue the man tells you what to say. Do you have a string running from your back? Pull the string and we get the same blather?My criticism is not Predators team play, rather the NCP reporting style. Somethimes NCP sports reporters get a little lazy.

By: gdiafante on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Well we all know about the stripe that runs down your back courier. And you are better qualified to write reports than their reporters because...I didn't think so. lol

By: Jimbobwe on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Wow. Nice. Been awhile since I've been over here, but it's reassuring to know that apparently troll-like commentors don't discriminate on which Nashville newspaper they choose to spam.Excellent job, all.And congrats to the Preds, Here's to what looks to be an extremely interesting off-season.

By: TITAN1 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Probably Trotz's best coaching job, considering the ownership change, worrying about if the team would be here,and losing quality players.

By: gdiafante on 12/31/69 at 6:00

I just don't like his system titan. Too passive. We need to stand up people at the blue line, play the man, not the puck. We also need to plant someone in front of the goal, something we've never done, but everyone seems to do to us!

By: TITAN1 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Yeah, like that huge Red Wood tree the Wings have camped out in front of their goalie.

By: gdiafante on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Holmstrom? Yeah, we just let him park there, have for years. And then when someone decides to try and move him we are called for interference or something.

By: TITAN1 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

That is him.