There's no denying the excitement surrounding the upcoming Nashville Predators season. Count Preds President and CEO Sean Henry among those who believe the 2016-17 campaign will be a special one.
Henry was the guest of honor at the Nashville Business Journal's "Inside the C-Suite" on Monday at City Winery, discussing his rise to a professional sports executive, as well as what's to come for the Predators franchise.
The talk of the summer was the club's deal that sent former captain Shea Weber to Montreal in exchange for All-Star defenseman P.K. Subban. Henry emphasized the organization's belief that with the trade, the team became better in more ways than one.
"When you have an opportunity to improve your team, as we did with P.K. Subban, the fact that this guy is a large star, he's dynamic, he's outgoing, he's charismatic, he wants to use his star power and what he does on the ice to change the community that he's in, it's hard not to love the guy," Henry said. "And it was tough to give up your captain, a guy that really defined what you were, but to bring in someone like P.K. Subban, it's so exciting."
It's transactions like that one, Henry believes, that continue to instill the fact that the Predators aren't a team that simply competes just to get into the playoffs, and that mantra comes from the top.
"When you look at the leadership of [our ownership, led by] Tom Cigarran, it's been incredible," Henry said. "He's the one that said we can compete with anyone, Toronto, New York, Philadelphia, and we can be better than them. And the words 'no' or 'never,' just remove them from the vocabulary. The days of us drafting really well, training really well, making guys All-Stars and then trading them at the last minute, we're done with it."
While Henry concedes that he'd prefer to win the Stanley Cup every year, he knows it's not possible. He'd prefer the team to give it everything they have, then be defeated, rather than wishing there had been more of an effort all year long.
But one day, Henry says, a season will not end with disappointment. And that day could come soon.