Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/GM David Poile announced on Tuesday, January 7th, that the team has named Warwick, RI native John Hynes as the third head coach in franchise history. He replaces Attleboro native and former Providence Bruins’ player, captain and coach Peter Laviolette.
“John Hynes is a bright young coach and great leader who has a track record of both effectively developing young players and successfully motivating veterans,” Poile said. “We love his coaching resume and are confident that he has learned from every stop during his career, and has the best skill set to get the maximum potential out of our team.”
“This is a tremendous opportunity to join an organization with a history of success, a team with immense talent and a phenomenal fanbase,” Hynes said. “This organization has a strong foundation, from its ownership and executives to the entire front-office staff, and I’m excited to come in and try to maximize this team’s abilities.”
In parts of five NHL seasons – all spent with the New Jersey Devils – John compiled a 150-159-45 record as a head coach. He was named head coach of the Devils prior to the 2014-15 campaign and led them to a six-point improvement in his first season, finishing with 84 points compared to 78 the season before. Following a 2016-17 season that saw his team finish 28-40-14 (70 points), Hynes engineered a 27-point improvement in 2017-18, the largest in New Jersey history, and led the Devils to the playoffs for the first time since 2011-12.
During the 2017-18 campaign, Hynes’s Devils finished with a 44-29-9 record (97 points) and featured Hart Trophy winner Taylor Hall, who tallied a career-high 93 points (39g-54a) in 76 games. He also oversaw the development of 2017’s No. 1 overall pick Nico Hischier, helping him record a career-best 52 points (20g-32a) – tied for the sixth-most among NHL rookies – in his first NHL season. For his efforts, Hynes earned the sixth-most votes for the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s top coach.
Before joining the Devils organization, Hynes served as head coach of the AHL’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins for five seasons from 2010-15 and was an assistant coach in 2009-10. Hynes led the Penguins to five consecutive Calder Cup Playoff berths, including back-to-back trips to the Eastern Conference Final in 2012-13 and 2013-14, and earned AHL Coach of the Year honors in 2011. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton allowed the fewest goals in the AHL in four of his five seasons at the helm and Hynes helped develop several players who are making an impact in the NHL today, such as Pittsburgh’s Bryan Rust and Toronto’s Kasperi Kapanen.
In between assistant coaching positions at UMass-Lowell (2000-01) and the University of Wisconsin (2002-03), Hynes spent nine seasons on the coaching staff of the USA Hockey National Team Development Program, serving as an assistant from 1998-2000 and 2001-02 and as head coach from 2003-09. While with the NTDP, Hynes developed players like Patrick Kane, Jimmy Howard, Phil Kessel, Jimmy Hayes and Jason Zucker while also excelling on the world’s stage, claiming four U-18 World Championship medals – two of them gold (2002 and 2006).
The 44-year-old served as head coach of the United States at the 2004 World Junior Championship, where the Americans won Gold for the first time and earned their first medal in the event since 1997.
Hynes began his coaching career at his alma mater of Boston University as an assistant under longtime Terriers head coach Jack Parker in 1997-98. A forward on the Terriers hockey team from 1993-97, he helped lead BU to four consecutive Frozen Four appearances, including an NCAA title in 1995. He was a teammate of Predators Assistant General Manager Jeff Kealty for three seasons while at Boston University.