With the Nashville Predator’s 4-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on March 8, general manager David Poile became the winningest general manager in the 100-year history of the NHL. The win was number 1,320 for him among an impressive career with the Predators and the Washington Capitals and extended the Predators win streak to a franchise record 10 games. Before the game against the Ducks, Poile was honored in a ceremony by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.
Poile is the only general manager the Predators have ever known as he accepted the position when they became an expansion team in 1997. His 1,320 wins are part of his astonishing numbers at 725-574-145 (70 ties) in 1,504 games with Nashville and 594-454-132 in 15 seasons with Washington from 1982-97. But, numbers aren’t the only thing Poile boasts—he was a finalist for the General Manager of the Year Award since it’s inclusion into the NHL Awards in 2010 and finally won in 2017.
Poile began his career as a player, putting up impressive statistics at Northeastern University with 68 goals in the latter two years of his college experience which were followed by professional tryout contracts. After these tryouts, Poile decided instead to go the managerial route as administrative assistant for then-team Atlanta Flames (now the Calgary Flames). He quickly moved up the ranks becoming assistant GM before moving on to the Washington Capitals where he was their GM.
Other than wins, Poile is also known for his blockbuster, shocking trades, notably the Shea Weber and P.K. Subban trade in 2016, Mike Dunham and Tomas Vokoun in 2002, and Martin Erat for now-superstar Filip Forsberg who was merely a prospect at the time. He clearly has an eye for talent and is willing to take risks to get that talent onto his roster. This eye for talent has made this year’s Predators team one of the most lethal in the league as they are poised to make the playoffs for the eleventh time in 20 years.
Numbers speak volumes about his career, but the opinions of his peers speak to his character. Predators head coach Peter Laviolette remarked on Poile’s attention to detail “and how prepared he is, it’s no surprise that he’s the winningest general manager in the National Hockey League…He’s really good at what he does…His work ethic and the way he communicates and deals with people, it’s first class all the way. Always.”
Defenseman Subban was also not lacking in compliments for his boss as he said “It’s important to have good hockey people, but I think the most important thing is to have good people and they have great people in this organization… David [Poile] has done a great job of putting together a great hockey environment, and any new guys that come to this team understand how great this environment is. It’s an easy place to work and to come and give your all every day, and you go home just as excited to come back and do your job again the next day.”
Poile has made a name and reputation for himself with numbers to back it up—he’s well liked by his team, admired for his knack for spotting talent, and now, he’s the winningest general manager in the NHL. Is there anything David Poile can’t do?