(Nashville) Barry Trotz has brought in another original member of the Nashville Predators to lead the team as head coach.

Andrew Brunette was named the team’s fourth head coach by whoever was behind the bench when he scored the first goal in Predators history.

The circle is complete.

“He knows the organization and how it works,” Trotz said at a press conference Wednesday. We want to rejuvenate ourselves and assemble a new group that can aim for top honors. »

Trotz was chosen in February to replace David Poile, the only general manager in Predators history until then. He will officially take office on July 1, but Trotz made his first major decisions this week. Head coach John Hynes and his assistant Dan Lambert were fired on Tuesday.

And while Trotz praised Hynes’ work late in the season, his connection to Brunette was undeniable. He’s known him since he was 19 and he was the obvious choice for him to revive the Predators.

The decisions are the first to be made by Trotz, and come six weeks after the Predators were knocked out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2014 — when Poile failed to renew Trotz’s contract.

Brunette, now 49, spent the last season as an associate coach for Lindy Ruff with the New Jersey Devils, and he has previously coached NHL clubs.

He was promoted to interim head coach of the Florida Panthers during the 2021-22 season, and helped the Florida Panthers set franchise records for wins (58) and points (122). The Panthers also won the Presidents’ Trophy, awarded to the best team in the NHL in the regular season, before being eliminated in the second round of the spring tournament. Brunette finished second in the ballot for the Jack Adams Trophy, awarded annually to the top head coach on the Bettman circuit.

Brunette said he was happy to be back in Nashville.

“I want to continue to build on the strong foundation that’s in place,” Brunette said.

He played under Trotz in the Predators’ first season in 1998-99. Their relationship began in the 1993-94 season, when Brunette played under Trotz for the Washington Capitals academy.

Brunette said she wants to rely on an offensive team that likes to maintain possession of the puck. He also wants team members to have fun coming to the arena every day.

“I know what it’s like to be a player with no fun and it’s depressing,” Brunette said.

“We play hockey, we don’t ‘work’ hockey,” Trotz added.