The speculation can stop, because the Nashville Predators second ever search for a head coach has ended with the appointment of Peter Laviolette.
After Nashville declined to renew Barry Trotz contract last month the rumor mill was churning out names. Among them was Laviolette’s name – the man who was fired a mere three games into the Philadelphia Flyers 2013-14 season.
Laviolette had coached the Flyers into the Stanley Cup Final in his first season in charge back in 2009-10. His coaching track record also sees a Stanley Cup victory as the head coach of the Carolina Hurricanes in 2005-06. Prior to the Cup success he had also picked up a Calder Cup as the head coach of the Providence Bruins in 1998-99.
In addition to the appointment of Laviolette the Predators will also be bringing Kevin McCarthy on-board as an assistant coach. He will be working side-by-side with Phil Housley and former-Admirals head coach Lane Lambert next season.
Quotes from the Nashville Predators official press release:
“Having reached the peak as a Stanley Cup Champion, Peter knows the intensity and urgency it will take to help our team reach its ultimate goal,” Poile said. “He is a great hockey mind who not only has a winning resume, but has done it with an aggressive offensive philosophy while also excelling in helping young players reach their potential. We look forward to Peter instilling his culture in Nashville immediately following his duties coaching the United States at the 2014 World Championship.”
“I love the nucleus of this team, starting on the back end with two of the best players at their positions in defenseman Shea Weber and goaltender Pekka Rinne, in addition to a solid group of dependable veterans and talented, rising young talent,” Laviolette said. “My challenge will be to impart a system that enables our young forwards to thrive and reach their offensive potential. Being a perennial Stanley Cup contender requires buy-in, passion and commitment from every player on the roster. I can’t wait to get to Nashville and get started on our journey.”
In my book, this was a slam dunk choice by the Predators. He has a proven track record and was really a victim of unfortunate GM work in Philadelphia that lead to his shockingly fast removal at the start of this season. I was fairly surprised to see him last the majority of this NHL season without landing in a new home. Now we all know that home will be Nashville. And I think that bodes well for the years to come.
What are your thoughts on the hiring of Peter Laviolette? Was this the right choice by the Nashville Predators? How do you think he will fair in his first few seasons as head coach? What should the outlook for the Predators be in these next few years be?