David Poile called it an organizational award, but he deserves as much credit as anyone.
The Predators general manager was named the 2017 NHL General Manager of the Year on Wednesday night at the 2017 NHL Awards at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, winning the award for the first time in his fourth nomination for the honor since its inception in 2010, the most of any GM.
The upcoming campaign will be Poile’s 36th as a general manager, making him the longest-serving GM in NHL history, set to move past Jack Adams and Glen Sather. His tenure – dating back to the 1982-83 season with Washington – has spanned 2,625 games and 1,282 wins, ranking him second only to Sather (2,700 games, 1,319 wins).
The award is voted on by the League’s general managers, plus a panel of NHL executives and media. Needless to say, the honor from peers and colleagues left the NHL’s senior GM humbled.
“It’s an organizational award, we all know that, and it means a lot because it means that we’ve done some good things both on and off the ice,” Poile said. “It’s a good time to be with the Nashville Predators and I’m just really happy that I’m here on behalf of the Predators.”
As bold as ever, Poile has made two franchise-altering deals in the last 18 months that helped propel the Predators to their first Stanley Cup Final in club history. In January of 2016, Poile dealt defenseman Seth Jones to Columbus in exchange for top centerman Ryan Johansen. Then, just six months later, Poile traded Shea Weber to Montreal in exchange for All-Star defenseman P.K. Subban.
The deals, which sent shockwaves across the hockey world, show Poile’s ability and willingness to do whatever it takes to bring the Stanley Cup to Nashville. He nearly did in 2017, and he doesn’t plan on slowing down anytime soon.
Poile often tells a story from his first days on the job in Washington back in 1982 when he made a deal to trade the team’s captain, recalling Washington’s owner uttering the phrase, “I hope you know what you’re doing,” to the rookie GM.
Ever since, Poile has been proving his abilities in a business that has seen a slew of surnames come and go at the position. Yet, for almost 36 consecutive years, Poile has found himself calling the shots, and doing so well enough to man the phones season after season.
A member of the NHL’s Competition Committee and General Manager of the 2014 United States Olympic Team, among many other positions and accolades, Poile remains one of the most respected voices in the game.
“I was thrilled for him,” Columbus Blue Jackets Head Coach John Tortorella said of Poile. “And this has gone on for a while in Nashville with how good that team has been… The way that city has taken off, it’s great for our game and for David, he’s grinded away and for him to get the opportunity…I’m thrilled for him.”
So in year 36, Poile will just continue to do what he’s done his whole career – manage his team with his heart on his sleeve in his quest of the ultimate prize. His latest honor is just another affirmation that the GM indeed has a decent idea of what he’s doing.