The Nashville Predators did not take long to react to yesterday’s news regarding Paul Fenton. The organization has promoted three individuals from within following Fenton’s move to the Minnesota Wild. Jeff Kealty has been named Assistant General Manager and Director of Scouting, Brian Poile becomes an Assistant General Manager and Director of Hockey Operations, and Scott Nichol has taken over the role as General Manager of the Milwaukee Admirals and Director of Player Development.
Press Release via Nashville Predators:
Nashville, Tenn. (May 22, 2018) – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced Tuesday the promotions of Jeff Kealty to Assistant General Manager and Director of Scouting; Brian Poile to Assistant General Manager and Director of Hockey Operations; and Scott Nichol to General Manager of the Milwaukee Admirals and Director of Player Development. The moves come after former Predators Assistant General Manager Paul Fenton was hired as General Manager of the Minnesota Wild.
“We’d like to thank Paul for his 20-plus years of contributions to our franchise. He has an incredible scouting eye and played a major role in our organization’s success of building and developing young, homegrown talent,” said David Poile. “At the same time, we are excited to have these three individuals move into expanded roles within our department and to be able to promote from within our organization.”
“Paul leaves behind an incredible legacy within our organization, and we couldn’t be more thankful to him or more excited for him on his next voyage,” said Predators President/CEO Sean Henry. “I’m also very excited for Jeff Kealty, Brian Poile and Scott Nichol on their promotions, new roles and added responsibilities. By promoting from within, it really pays the ultimate compliment to what David Poile has constructed in Smashville.”
Kealty, who recently completed his 17th season with the Predators organization, will oversee Nashville’s professional and amateur scouting efforts. Before being promoted to Director of Player Personnel on Dec. 1, 2017, Kealty spent 11 seasons as Nashville’s Chief Amateur Scout and oversaw the team’s last 10 NHL Drafts. Since 2007, Kealty has selected 42 forwards, 25 defensemen and 10 goalies, and his scouting played an integral role in the acquisitions of Filip Forsberg, Ryan Johansen, Calle Jarnkrok and Ryan Hartman. With his experience in amateur scouting all over the world and development of prospects within the Predators system, 13 players who were drafted by the Predators during his tenure are on the team’s current roster, including Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis, Mattias Ekholm, Viktor Arvidsson, Kevin Fiala, Colton Sissons, Craig Smith, Austin Watson and Juuse Saros. Players drafted under Kealty’s watch combined for 339 points (136g-203a) during the 2017-18 regular season, helping Nashville win the Presidents’ Trophy for the first time. Prior to joining the Predators organization as an amateur scout in 2001, Kealty signed with Nashville as a free agent in 1998 and played one professional season with the Admirals in 1998-99.
In his expanded role, Brian Poile will manage the research, negotiation and handling of player contracts, fiscal strategic planning, arbitration, oversight of minor league operations in Milwaukee and at the ECHL level and the hockey operations budget. Poile, who recently completed his eighth season with the team, will also act as the liaison between hockey operations and the organization’s business departments, hockey facilities and Bridgestone Arena ventures. He will continue to carry out his responsibilities as the team’s Director of Hockey Operations, which include managing the payroll, salary cap, the team’s analytics department, the training, medical and equipment staffs and the department’s day-to-day business operations.
Nichol will manage the Predators’ primary development affiliate, the American Hockey League’s Milwaukee Admirals, in addition to his current role as Director of Player Development. He will work closely with Assistant Director of Player Development Wade Redden in following, evaluating and assisting prospects drafted by Nashville. During Nichol’s five seasons of guidance in his player development role in Milwaukee, he has helped players such as Filip Forsberg, Kevin Fiala, Viktor Arvidsson, Colton Sissons, Austin Watson, Miikka Salomaki and Anthony Bitetto secure full-time spots in the NHL and lead the team to the playoffs in each of their last four campaigns. Nichol will move to Nashville for the position and will also be available as a resource to Predators players and coaches at the NHL level. During his 20-season professional career, Nichol recorded 127 points (56g-71a) in 662 NHL games, including 47 points (24g-23a) in 209 contests with the Predators from 2005-09.
Many in Milwaukee likely have seen Nichol on numerous occasions behind the Admirals bench over the past several seasons. He has acted as a Director of Player Development and been around to help out around the Admirals, guide many of the young and new talent entering the organization, and has also helped conduct practice sessions in season. As far as having someone well aware of this past season for the Admirals and finding a good balance in helping them achieve more down the road? This was a savvy choice by the Predators and also one, for all involved, that simply makes sense to be promoting from within.
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