In 2009, just months after enduring a knee injury that essentially ended his NHL career, he received an unexpected call from Nashville Predators general manager David Poile asking him if he’d like to be the team’s new Director of Player Development.
“He phoned and said do you want to work,” recalls Gelinas.
“Knowing David, knowing his track record, knowing how knowledgeable he is about the game I thought I want to do this, I want to learn from the best. So I took the job.”
The former Canuck is essentially tasked with helping the Predators’ draft picks make the NHL, drawing from his experience of playing nearly 1300 NHL games, and in four Stanley Cup finals.
“My job is to go watch the prospects, assess their play, see where they’re at, talk to their coaches and agents,” he says.
“Some guys will get to the NHL sooner – they’ll grab the message we’re giving them, they’ll grab the information and they’ll make it happen. And some other guys will take a little longer. We’ll just work with them if it’s skating, or skill, or reading the game, or just off-ice habits.”
The most challenging part of the job, he says, is the travel that keeps him away from his family who make their home in Calgary.
“I have a great wife who takes care of home and the kids,” says Gelinas, whose 16 year old son Matthew was recently drafted by the Swift Current Broncos of the Western Hockey League.
“I travel two weeks out of every month. I spend four or five days a month (with our AHL affiliate) in Milwaukee, and working with the coaches there. The rest of the time I’m travelling to see our young prospects”
Now, in his third season with the Predators’ front-office, the former player has become highly regarded for his ‘player development’ skills.
“Marty has been a great addition to our organization. He is an excellent teacher and mentor for our drafted and pro players,” says Paul Fenton, Assistant General Manager of the Nashville Predators.
“He is so detailed and caring, open to any schedule for the players. Where [his career] progresses will be up to him.”
In terms of career track, Gelinas won’t predict his future but says the idea of, one day, running his own team does intrigue him.
“[Is it] something that I’ll eventually want to do? Possibly. You’ve got to put in the time, do a good job at what you’re doing and learn different aspects of the business and maybe doors will open,” Gelinas says.
“I’ve got some work to do (to get there).”