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Predators fire coach John Hynes more than 6 weeks after missing playoffs

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Nashville Predators fired coach John Hynes on Tuesday, moving on from him more than six weeks after missing the playoffs.

Incoming general manager Barry Trotz announced his decision hours after reports emerged that Hynes had been informed he was out and Andrew Brunette was expected to be hired to replace him as coach. The team announced only the dismissals of Hynes and assistant Dan Lambert.

“John Hynes is a good man and a good hockey coach,” Trotz said in a statement. “He did an outstanding job after the trade deadline with our team, especially with our young players, and he is a well-prepared, hard-working coach who will continue to grow in the NHL. After our year-end meetings and some additional evaluation, it was time to change the voice and time to go in a different direction.“

Hynes is out 3 1/2 years since becoming a midseason replacement when Poile fired Peter Laviolette in January 2020. Nashville lost in the qualifying round of the expanded playoffs later that year and was knocked out in the first round in 2021 and ‘22, the latter of which was the first time the team was swept in 15 postseason appearances.

Missing the playoffs by three standings points this year spelled the end for Hynes, but it also came after he did not develop young talent up to the organization’s expectations. Nashville gave up on onetime highly touted prospect Eeli Tolvanen, who at age 23 scored 16 goals for Seattle after getting claimed off waivers.

Hynes’ departure also comes after Poile held a fire sale before his final trade deadline, sending away several players signed long term or under team control beyond the season: top-pairing defenseman Mattias Ekholm and forwards Mikael Granlund, Nino Niederreiter and Tanner Jeannot.

Those moves cleaned much of the slate for Trotz, who is moving into the front office after more than two decades in coaching. He spent his first 15 years in the NHL coaching the Predators, from their inception in 1998 until 2014, a second consecutive season out of the playoffs.

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AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/nhl and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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