Nashville Predators hire Andrew Brunette after firing John Hynes

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

NASHVILLE, Tenn.– The coaching shuffle in Nashville is complete, with Andrew Brunette officially hired as the Predators coach a little over 12 hours after the team announced that John Hynes was fired.

The moves are the first being made by incoming general manager Barry Trotz and come about six weeks after the Predators missed the playoffs.

The 49-year-old Brunette spent the past season as a New Jersey Devils associate coach under Lindy Ruff and has previous head-coaching experience.

He was promoted to interim coach of the Florida Panthers during the 2021-22 season and oversaw a team that set franchise records for wins (58) and points (122) in claiming the Presidents’ Trophy before being eliminated in the second round of the playoffs. Brunette finished second in the Jack Adams Award voting for the NHL’s coach of the year.

He becomes just the fourth coach in the history of a Predators franchise and returns to Nashville, where Brunette played for the Trotz-coached team during its inaugural season in 1998-99. Their relationship goes back to 1993-94, when Brunette played under Trotz, who was head coach of the Washington Capitals’ American Hockey League affiliate in Portland, Maine.

“I feel like this is coming full circle for my career – from pulling on the jersey for the first time 25 years ago to returning now to take care of some unfinished business,” Brunette said in a statement. “It has been awesome to see how this city and its fanbase have grown since I played here and I look forward to continuing the legacy and the culture behind the bench that Barry cultivated that inaugural season.”

Trotz, meantime, has an eye on building on the Predators’ youth and offensively skilled players as he takes over as GM for David Poile, who is retiring at the end of June after 26 years overseeing the franchise.

“We want to become more of an offensive team and Andrew specializes on that side of the ice – he lived it as a player, and he coaches it as a coach, Trotz said. “He is as good of an offensive teacher and power-play coach as there is in the game today. He will be great with our young players, and I know, because of his background as a player, he will connect well with our top, skilled players.”

In Florida, Brunette coached a Panthers team that led the NHL with 337 goals and had the league’s fourth-best power-play unit.

The Predators missed the playoffs for the first time in nine years, and the first under Hynes, who took over as coach during the 2019-20 season after Peter Laviolette was fired.

Brunette, who is from Sudbury, Ontario, spent 16 seasons playing in the NHL, ending with a one-year stint with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2011-12. He finished with 268 goals and 733 points in 1,110 career games split among six teams, including two separate stints in Minnesota. Brunette is one of 25 players selected in the seventh round or later to appear in more than 1,000 NHL games.

Upon his retirement, Brunette spent seven seasons with the Wild in various off-ice roles, including assistant coach and assistant GM, before being hired by the Panthers as an assistant coach in 2019-2020.

Barry Trotz returns to Nashville, will replace Poile as GM

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Barry Trotz became the Nashville Predators’ first coach back in 1997.

Now he will become the team’s second general manager on July 1.

On Sunday, David Poile announced his plans to retire as GM on June 30 after 26 years with the Predators.

Trotz and Poile were reunited at Bridgestone Arena on Monday as Trotz was introduced as his replacement. Poile, 73, will remain as an adviser.

The two men have known each other for 41 years, dating back to Poile’s time as the Washington Capitals’ GM.

“It was my first training camp with the Capitals (in 1982) and Barry was an undrafted player,” Poile said of their first meeting.

Trotz was cut, but Washington hired him as a scout before he went into coaching.

He is the NHL’s third-winningest coach with 914 victories, including stints with Washington where he won a Stanley Cup in 2018 and the New York Islanders from 2018-22.

Poile said Trotz, 60, turned down several coaching jobs during the offseason and Poile told Trotz this would be his last season as GM.

“Around, I’d say, Christmastime, he kind of said I’m not gonna coach anymore and he said could I talk to you about being a candidate for the GM position,” Poile said. “And from that time it went pretty fast with he and I talking and ownership getting involved, and probably by mid-January we probably had that done.”

Trotz is confident he can make the transition from coach to general manager.

“I thought long and hard about this,” Trotz said. “How coaches, how managers operate — you’ve got to work together and I’ve always tried to do that with David. He’s mentored me.”

Nashville made three trades over the weekend, but Trotz plans to reset rather than rebuild.

“We are resetting, we are collecting assets,” Trotz said. “There are some good players. There could be six first-round picks in Milwaukee (Nashville’s AHL affiliate) next year, so there are people coming.”

Trotz is keeping an open mind about Predators coach John Hynes, who is 121-86-16 in his fourth year in Nashville.

The Predators are six points out of the second wild-card spot after falling in the first round of the playoffs the past three seasons.

“I’ve been in coaching for a long time so I know when a team is well-coached,” Trotz said. “John is a really good coach. The biggest thing for me is from now until the end of the season, I’m just gonna evaluate.”

Nashville will host the NHL Draft for the second time in June.

“We haven’t been able to get that franchise-changing center iceman,” Trotz said. “We haven’t been that poor to get that and there’s some luck. There are some guys that changed franchises that got drafted later.”

Trotz will get a chance to help shape the Predators’ future at the draft with his input, but cautioned that it requires patience.

“It’s not like football,” Trotz said. “Football, guys are coming out of college. They’re either 22, 23, 24, 25, and they’re men. We’re drafting 18-year-olds.”

Trotz said it takes six years for a lot of draft prospects to make an impact.

Poile exits as the NHL’s winningest GM with 1,519 victories in 39 years, but Nashville has won only one playoff series since making the Stanley Cup Finals in 2017.

“I’ve got two loves in my life: my family and hockey,” Poile said. “I’m so lucky.”

Lightning add grit in acquiring Jeannot from Predators

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The slumping Tampa Bay Lightning added an element of grit into their lineup to punch up their late-season playoff push by acquiring forward Tanner Jeannot in a trade with the Nashville Predators on Sunday night.

And the Lightning paid a high price in doing so by trading away third-year defenseman Cal Foote, as well as five draft picks, including a 2025 first-round selection that is top-10 protected. Tampa Bay also traded its second-round pick in the 2024 draft, as well as its third- fourth- and fifth-round selections this year.

The trade was completed shortly after the Lightning fell to 2-2-2 in their past six following a 7-3 loss at Pittsburgh, and comes less than a week before the NHL’s trade deadline on Friday.

Listed at 6-foot-2 and 208 pounds, Jeannot is completing the third and final year of his rookie contract and eligible to become a restricted free agent this summer. After scoring 24 goals and 41 points in 81 games last season, Jeannot’s production has dropped this season. He’s been limited to five goals and 14 points in 56 games.

Signed by Nashville as an undrafted free agent, the 25-year-old is better known for his hard-hitting style and defensive play. He leads the Predators with 213 hits and the team’s forwards with 51 blocked shots this season.

Overall, he has 34 goals and 62 points with 217 penalty minutes in 152 career games.

The Lightning maintain a strong hold on third place in the Atlantic Division, and are likely to open the playoffs facing Toronto in a rematch of last year’s first-round playoff series, which Tampa Bay won in seven games. The Lightning, who have reached the Stanley Cup Final in each of the past three seasons and won in both 2020 and ’21, trail Toronto by four points in the race to determine which team will have home-ice advantage to start the postseason.

The Predators continue their sell-off of talent with the trade coming a day after dealing forward Nino Niederreiter to Winnipeg in exchange for a second-round pick in the 2024 draft.

Nashville is retooling for the future while still in the fringes of the Western Conference race – sitting in 10th place, and six points out of a playoff spot. The Predators traded Jeannot after improving to 4-1 in their past five following a 6-2 win at Arizona.

The trade also comes with a looming change in management set for June, with Barry Trotz rejoining the franchise to succeed general manager David Poile, who has held the job since the team was founded in 1998.

In a separate move, Nashville gave up future considerations to acquire minor-league forward Isaac Ratcliffe in a trade with the Philadelphia Flyers. A second-round pick in the 2017 draft, Ratcliffe has a goal and three assists in 10 career games with the Flyers.

Predators’ Ryan Johansen out estimated 12 weeks after surgery

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Nashville Predators center Ryan Johansen will miss the rest of the regular season after having surgery on his lower right leg.

The Predators announced that Johansen will miss an “estimated 12 weeks” after surgery.

Nashville would have to make the playoffs for Johansen to have a chance to return this season. The Predators wrap up the regular season April 14 in hosting Colorado, and they go into the game at San Jose seven points out of the second wild-card berth in the Western Conference.

Johansen left the ice late in the second period of a 5-4 shootout win over Vancouver after Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes‘ skate caught the back of his right ankle. Johansen left the arena on crutches and kept his foot off the ground despite wearing a walking boot for protection.

The 6-foot-3 center ranks fifth on the Predators with 28 points playing in their first 55 games. That’s a big drop from last season when he finished with 63 points, tied for the third-most points in his career.

Johansen thanked doctors on social media and everyone who has reached out to him.

“We’re in a dogfight to find our way into the playoffs and it’s going to suck not being out there with my brothers but y’all fans inspire us everyday and our group is gonna need you for this push,” Johansen wrote.

Saros stops record 64 shots as Predators beat Hurricanes

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RALEIGH, N.C. — The shots came at such a rapid pace that Nashville goalie Juuse Saros didn’t have a chance to assess the chaos in front of him.

Just make the next save.

Saros racked up a franchise-record 64 saves and Mark Jankowski’s goal 5:06 into the third period gave the Predators their first lead in a 5-3 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday night.

“It was a sweaty night, but nice to get the win,” said Saros, selected to the NHL All-Star Game a few hours earlier.

Saros matched the third-most saves in NHL history. He stopped all 28 shots in the third.

“He made multiple big saves,” Predators coach John Hynes said. “He’s one of the stars of our team. He played like that.”

The 67 shots for Carolina marked a franchise record. The previous high was 65 when, as the Hartford Whalers, the team beat Toronto on March 15, 1984.

“You’ve got to win the game,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “What you’ve got to do is give credit where credit is due. That guy played as good a game in the net that you’re ever going to see.”

Saros didn’t mind the workload.

“I’m fine,” he said. “That’s why we practice.”

Filip Forsberg, Mattias Ekholm and Cody Glass also scored for Nashville, which has a four-game point streak. Colton Sissons had an empty-net goal, and Alexandre Carrier provided two assists.

Paul Stastny, Brady Skjei and Jordan Staal scored for Carolina. Brett Pesce had two assists, and Pyotr Kochetkov stopped 20 shots.

The Hurricanes, who had a franchise-record 11-game winning streak snapped Tuesday night against the New York Rangers, have lost consecutive games in regulation for the first time since Nov. 6 and 9.

This one stung because what seemed like domination went for naught.

“We had the puck most of the game,” Staal said. “We definitely have to regroup and get back on it. It’s two in a row. We have to find a way to get on the right side of it.”

Saros was up to the task while facing Carolina’s power play in the final four minutes and he handled a 6-on-5 situation until Sissons’ empty-netter with 2.9 seconds left.

“He’s an All-Star for a reason,” Jankowski said.

The Predators responded to each of Carolina’s three goals with a tying tally within three minutes. Nashville scored three times on its first 12 shots. The Hurricanes held a 31-12 edge in shots after Glass’ fourth goal of the season and second in two games.

“It can’t be pretty every night, but you have to dig some out,” Ekholm said.

The Predators were proud that they executed well enough on offense to overcome what was happening at the other end.

“Anytime we get down like that, we know what we’re capable of,” Jankowski said.

The goals for Stastny and Forsberg came on power plays. Skjei’s goal was on a 4-on-4 situation 35 seconds into the second period.

“The pace of the game, they put some pressure on, obviously,” Hynes said. “We turned some pucks over that allowed them to (go) on the attack a little bit more.

“Carolina always plays that way. They shoot a lot of pucks. Especially behind, you knew it was going to be a hard push from them.”


Left wing Max Pacioretty made his Carolina debut, skating on the fourth line in his first game of the season.

“My energy was there,” he said.

Pacioretty launched six shots on goal.

“Just want him to get up to game speed as quickly as possible,” Brind’Amour said before the game. “Then he’s going to have that adjustment period to what we’re doing.”

Pacioretty was a key offseason acquisition for the Hurricanes, who dealt for him from Vegas. In August, he underwent surgery for a torn Achilles and was expected to miss up to six months.

He entered with 226 goals in 626 regular-season games.


Hurricanes forward Stefan Noesen missed his first game since the opener with a lower-body injury sustained in the first period Tuesday night. . Carolina forward Andrei Svechnikov also was selected to the All-Star Game.


Predators: At Washington on Friday.

Hurricanes: At Columbus on Saturday.