Predators' Poile gets another crack at NHL's GM award

Tuesday, April 24, 2012 at 11:09am

David Poile is no Susan Lucci. Not yet, at least.

The Nashville Predators general manager does have the longest current losing streak — the only losing streak, to be precise — in the National Hockey League’s general manager of the year award and now has the opportunity to add to it.

For the third consecutive year Poile was named a finalist for the honor, voted on by NHL general managers and a panel of NHL executives, print and broadcast media.

Also named finalists on Tuesday were Doug Armstrong of the St. Louis Blues, and Dale Tallon of Florida.

The award was created three years ago, and Poile is the only one to be named finalist more than once. The other honorees in 2011 were Vancouver’s Mike Gillis (the winner) and Tampa Bay’s Steve Yzerman. In 2010, they were Don Maloney of Phoenix (the winner) and Washington’s George McPhee.

"This has been a really interesting year," Poile said. " … We were in a pretty good place last year. Everybody was applauding. We had a good year. We won in the first round [of the playoffs] and all those things, yet we made some big-time decisions.

"Arguably you could say we took not just a step but a giant step backwards to hopefully eventually go forward. I think there was a lot of doubt as to where we were, not only outside the organization but a little bit in the organization. A lot of good things have happened."

Poile used every avenue possible throughout the season to tweak the roster and help the franchise reach the playoffs for the seventh time in eight seasons.

He was one of the league’s most active and successful executives at this year’s trade deadline. In the preceding days and weeks he acquired defenseman Hal Gill and left wing Andrei Kostitsyn in separate deals with the Montreal Canadiens and got center Paul Gaustad from Buffalo.

Brandon Yip was claimed off waivers and Alexander Radulov was coaxed back from Russia — finally — in a situation no other general manager ever had faced.

The Predators also benefited from the in-season additions of defensemen Roman Josi and Ryan Ellis and left wing Gabriel Bourque.

"There were a lot of good stories," Poile said. "We’re not anything like where we were a year ago. There’s been a big, big change in our franchise. So year, I think there was a lot of work that went into getting us where we are today."

Armstrong retooled the Blues with an addition of veteran talent that included former Nashville captain Jason Arnott. He also changed coaches early in the season. The Blues went 43-11-15 and finished second in the Western Conference under Ken Hitchcock.

Tallon traded for or signed 10 new players during the offseason and hired first-time coach Kevin Dineen. The Panthers ultimately made the playoffs for the first time since 2000.

"It’s a tremendous honor to be nominated as general manager of the year," Poile said "I say that because the voting is done by the other 29 general managers. So for the third year in a row, I think, that’s fantastic.

"It is a true reflection, though, of our whole organization and everything that’s been taking place here the last two or three years. … I feel so good about where we’re going with our franchise the last two or three years, both on and off the ice."