The Nashville Predators are making a change behind the bench. The Predators have parted ways with head coach John Hynes and announced Andrew Brunette as the team's next head coach, the team said Wednesday.
"I am super excited to be back in Nashville and a part of the Predators organization," Brunette said in a press release. "I feel like this is coming full circle for my career -- from pulling on the jersey for the first time 25 years ago to returning now to take care of some unfinished business. It has been awesome to see how this city and its fanbase have grown since I played here and I look forward to continuing the legacy and the culture behind the bench that Barry cultivated that inaugural season."
Hynes put together a 134-96-18 record in four seasons as the Predators head coach, but never could lead the team past the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He had one year remaining on his contract.
Brunette spent the 2022-23 season as an assistant coach with the New Jersey Devils. He was named the associate head coach of the Florida Panthers in October 2021 after Joel Quenneville resigned as the team's head coach. Following the 2021-22 season, the Panthers hired Paul Maurice as their next head coach. Florida did offer Brunette a significant assistant coach position with the franchise, but he chose to join the Devils' coaching staff instead.
During his time as the Panthers head coach, Brunette accumulated a 51-18-6 record and led the team to a first-place finish in the Atlantic Division. The Panthers ended up being eliminated by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Brunette has strong connections to the Predators organization, as he scored the first goal in franchise history back in 1998. The 49 year old tallied 11 goals and 20 assists in his lone season with the Predators that year. Brunette had a 16-year NHL career and played for the Minnesota Wild, Washington Capitals, Colorado Avalanche, Atlanta Thrashers and Chicago Blackhawks in addition to the Predators.
The Predators are coming off of a 42-32-8 record (92 points) and finished just three points shy of clinching a playoff spot in the Western Conference.