David Poile: The Myth


Montreal Canadiens’ General Manager Marc Bergevin often says that the goal of a NHL team is to make the playoffs as once you do, you never know what can happen. Nashville Predators’ GM David Poile likely agrees as his team experienced it just last Spring, when they qualified for the last Wild Card spot at the very end of the season. We know the rest: the Preds made their way all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals, only to be ousted by Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

So far this season, Poile’s Predators are riding the wave as they sit second in the Central Division behind the Winnipeg Jets, and are considered one of the top contenders in the Western Conference.

Poile has done a good job assembling his team, no doubt. He recently added three centres, by trading Seth Jones to Columbus for Ryan Johansen, signing UFA Nick Bonino to replace retired captain Mike Fisher and more recently, trading two of their top prospects in Samuel Girard and Vladislav Kamenev, as well as a second round pick for Kyle Turris in a big three-way deal with Colorado and Ottawa.

Director of Player Personnel Jeff Kealty and Director of Player Development Scott Nichol deserve a lot of credit for allowing their GM to have the assets to trade to acquire key players. On defense alone, guys like Ryan Suter, Shea Weber, Seth Jones, Roman Josi, Mattias Ekholm and Samuel Girard all come from the Predators’ pipelines, with Weber getting credit for helping develop several of them while with the Preds.

Perspective needed

In Montreal however, many people seem to see things differently than anywhere else. Whether it’s based on frustration in anticipation of not seeing the Canadiens make the playoffs, or because of a fan-favourite having been traded, there seems to be a level of frustration which appears to prevent a lot of the rational thinking that should be expected from a hockey city. Some fans, and even members of the media, in their haste to hang Bergevin, are putting Poile on a pedestal, washing his feet with the most expansive perfumes. They worship the ground he walks on, due to a season and a half.

Poile is a very good GM, there is no denying that. He has made some good moves, and some not so good ones during his career. His recent work seems to be paying dividends though and that’s what people in Montreal seem to solely be focussing on. Remember folks, one needs to take a step back to differentiate the forest from the tree.

In fact, the 2017-2018 season is David Poile’s 40th NHL season as an assistant-GM or GM, and his 35th year as GM of a team. That’s a long time and he deserve praise for being able to last this long in pro sports. However, people don’t seem to recall that the teams he has managed have only made it past the second round of the playoffs TWICE in that time span, in 1990 with the Capitals and last year with the Predators! Yes, twice in 40 years. Everything in perspective folks…

4 thoughts on “David Poile: The Myth

  1. I hope that you are not saying that we should allow Bergevin 5 more “5 years plans” untill we should legitimately expect a presence in the STANLEY CUP FINALS! A smart guy learns from the mistakes that others did. Probably he’s not a smart guy. As I said many times.

      1. You’re 100% right about that. Waaay overrated. In almost 40 years of fruitless errors, even I could do “some good moves” 🙂 I have listened to some “heavy weights” (among which Y. Pednault) boasting his feats, but everybody is forgetting about how long it took him to make this actual team…
        I just hope that someone has the …whatever it takes to admit that this must NOT be the norm here.

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