Predators come full circle with Andrew Brunette employed as 4th coach

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — David Poile constructed the Nashville Predators from the underside up as their first common supervisor for the growth franchise.

Now the person Poile employed as his first coach right here has introduced again one other authentic Predator. Incoming common supervisor Barry Trotz introduced the hiring Wednesday of Andrew Brunette, who scored Nashville’s first-ever aim, because the fourth head coach in franchise historical past.

The Predators’ circle is full once more.

“He is aware of how our group works and is run from high to backside, understands what we are attempting to do with this membership,” Trotz mentioned Wednesday at a information convention introducing Brunette. “We’re making an attempt to get youthful. We’re making an attempt to retool, construct a group that may win a Stanley Cup.”

Trotz, announced in February as Poile’s replacement starting July 1, has been evaluating the franchise for months working with Poile. Trotz fired John Hynes and assistant Dan Lambert on Tuesday with a 12 months left on their contracts. Trotz credited Hynes with doing an awesome job with the roster he had.

However Trotz has recognized Brunette since he was 19. They know one another very properly personally and professionally, making the choice to rent the 49-year-old Brunette the straightforward alternative of three candidates that included AHL Milwaukee coach Karl Taylor.

“I’ve the utmost confidence that he can lead us to the place we wish to go,” Trotz mentioned of Brunette and chasing the Stanley Cup that eluded Nashville in its lone Ultimate look in 2017.

These teaching strikes are the primary by Trotz and are available about six weeks after the Predators missed the playoffs for the primary time since 2014 — when Poile didn’t renew Trotz’s contract.

Brunette spent the previous season as a New Jersey Devils affiliate coach beneath Lindy Ruff and has earlier head teaching expertise.

He was promoted to Florida’s interim coach throughout the 2021-22 season and oversaw the Panthers setting franchise data for wins (58) and factors (122) to earn the Presidents’ Trophy earlier than being eradicated within the second spherical of the playoffs. Brunette completed second within the Jack Adams Award voting for the NHL’s coach of the 12 months.

Brunette known as being again with the Predators thrilling after watching each the group and Nashville’s progress since he left.

“I’m trying ahead to rising and grabbing the Predator manner, the inspiration that which this group’s been constructed on and persevering with to develop that,” Brunette mentioned.

He not solely performed for Trotz throughout the Predators’ inaugural season in 1998-99. Their relationship goes again to 1993-94, when Brunette performed beneath Trotz, who was head coach of the Washington Capitals’ American Hockey League affiliate in Portland, Maine, on the age of 19.

The brand new coach made clear he desires the Predators to embrace an offensive fashion and play keep-away with the puck. He additionally desires the Predators to have enjoyable and wish to come to work day-after-day.

“As a participant, I do know once I didn’t have enjoyable, I stunk,” Brunette mentioned.

Trotz added: “We play hockey, we don’t work it.”

The Predators might take a step again to go ahead after stockpiling draft picks at the trade deadline. Trotz now should construct on the Predators’ youth and offensively expert gamers as he takes over as Poile retires on the finish of June because the NHL’s winningest and longest-tenured GM.

Trotz mentioned he might have been referred to as a defensive coach due to the rosters he labored with in Nashville, Washington the place he gained the Stanley Cup as a coach in 2018 and with the New York Islanders. However he made clear he plans to construct a group that may play an offensive fashion.

“In any case, we’re within the successful and the leisure enterprise,” Trotz mentioned.

In Florida, Brunette coached a Panthers group that led the NHL with 337 objectives and had the league’s fourth-best energy play.

The Predators simply missed the playoffs for the primary time beneath Hynes, who took over in January 2020 after Peter Laviolette was fired.

Brunette, who’s from Sudbury, Ontario, performed 16 seasons within the NHL with the final a one-year stint with Chicago in 2011-12. He completed with 268 objectives and 733 factors in 1,110 video games cut up amongst six groups, together with two separate stints in Minnesota. Brunette is one in all 25 gamers chosen within the seventh spherical or later to seem in additional than 1,000 NHL video games.

Upon his retirement, Brunette spent seven seasons with the Wild in numerous off-ice roles, together with assistant coach and assistant GM, earlier than being employed by the Panthers as an assistant coach in 2019-2020.

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