Earlier this afternoon, the Nashville Predators announced they had hired Peter Laviolette as the new head coach, four weeks after deciding not to bring back Barry Trotz. Nashville was the first team to announce they would be changing coaches in the offseason, and are now the first to officially welcome a new one aboard. Laviolette should bring with him a more offensive kick than the Preds have seen before, (though that isn't saying a whole lot) and was considered by many to be the front-runner for the job.
The reaction to many outside the Predsphere was obvious:
I guess the plan all along was for Shea Weber to play for Peter Laviolette.— Ian Mendes (@ian_mendes) May 6, 2014
@TravisSBN Is Peter Laviolette a double agent sent to Nashville to lure Shea Weber to Philadelphia? My column:— Fear The Fin (@fearthefin) May 6, 2014
Others shed light on an important fact going forward:
The Nashville Predators continue to solidify their status as America's Team by hiring noted American Peter Laviolette.— Chris Peters (@chrismpeters) May 6, 2014
If you listen closely, you can actually hear the eagles screeching freedom in the background. Seth Jones and Craig Smith shed patriotic tears of joy.
Yet, one aspect to consider is how the rest of the teams searching for coaches feel:
Will Laviolette be the next Cooper (i.e. guy Caps fans will lament not being hired here while they flounder under/fire someone else)? Maybe!— JapersRink (@JapersRink) May 6, 2014
There have been a handful of head coaching positions open up in the last couple of weeks, making the market that much more competitive. It's encouraging to see the Nashville front office make the first move, instead of waiting to see what direction others are going. (UPDATE: Poile even said they sped up the hiring process because of this.) Moreover, it's even more encouraging to see one of the most sought-after coaches decide to come to Music City despite any opportunities he may (or may not) have had.
Now, the Predators have plenty of time before the NHL Draft and free agency to discuss how they're going to handle the system and vision going forward. That could mean swapping some part of the roster or relying more heavily on some of the younger players. The latter seems to already be on the forefront of Laviolette's mind:
Laviolette: "My challenge will be to impart a system that enables our young forwards to thrive and reach their offensive potential."— Kristopher Martel (@ThePredatorial) May 6, 2014
That's got to be music to every Predators fan's ears. There are still many questions to be answered, and what will seem like an eternity before training camp and the new season starts. But it looks like the Predators have made a good choice, employing a proven winner to try and take the team somewhere it hasn't been before. Many were complaining during the season of managements apparent complacency with the team. The last month has proved they to chance for the better just as bad as the fans.