The narrative for the Nashville Predators has drastically shifted the last few years from talking about the franchise’s Stanley Cup window to discussing if they would be best suited to clean house with a full-scale rebuild.
Reports recently surfaced that every player excluding Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis and Pekka Rinne on Nashville’s roster could be available via trade, and many have been calling for the jobs of head coach John Hynes and General Manager David Poile.
While it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Predators move on from one or both if their season continues on its current trajectory, team President and CEO Sean Henry recently told The Athletic that there were currently no plans to part with Poile.
The 71-year-old Poile echoed those same sentiments during a radio interview on 102.5-FM on Tuesday, stating team ownership has been nothing but supportive while he tries to right the Predators’ ship.
“I’ve always had the support of ownership,” Poile said. “They’ve been just fabulous to me…This clearly is a frustrating time for all of us – myself, our coaches, our players, our fans, and of course, our owners. I think in any business, you have to have a plan…You want to know what the plan is going forward for your investment.
“So, it’s no different for me to have to have a plan all the time with our ownership, that’s what my job is. Usually, that’s a three-to-five-year plan. It still is. Again, I’m not giving up on this season. Our game against Columbus on Saturday night was our best game of the year.”
At 7-10-0, the Predators are currently tied for the fourth-fewest points in the NHL. If ever there were a time for Nashville to make a push for the playoffs, it would be now. The Predators play the Detroit Red Wings -- one of the three teams with fewer points than them -- on Tuesday and Thursday night, followed by two home games against the Columbus Blue Jackets – a team Nashville has beaten three of four times.
Poile likely believes in the best-case scenario where Nashville gains all eight possible points in its next four games and jumps to within striking distance of fourth place in the Central Division, which is the cutoff mark to qualify for the playoffs.
“We get a chance to climb back into the playoff race by having a couple good games against Detroit tonight and Thursday,” he said. “It’s been a hard year and I guess I would just like to continue to buy a little bit more time and see if the game we played on Saturday night is similar to the game that we play tonight.”
Four games is likely all the time Poile can afford to buy. If the Predators continue their wildly inconsistent ways and are no closer to a playoff spot by this time next week, he may have no choice but to start fielding calls and making deals.
Follow Michael Gallagher on Twitter @MGsports_