Even after a knee injury cut short his 2007-08 season Martin Gelinas did not want to end his career as a National Hockey League player.
A year later, he has decided to help others start theirs.
Gelinas was named the Nashville Predators’ first Director of Player Development on Tuesday.
“With the way we build our team, primarily through the draft, I felt it was important to establish this position now,” general manager David Poile said. “I couldn’t think of a better person to have. (Gelinas) has seen it all and done it all, and in the year he was with us we saw he was a commensurate professional and that he had a lot of knowledge.”
A veteran of 19 NHL seasons with seven teams, Gelinas will serve as a resource for Predators’ prospects at all levels. He also will help evaluate those prospects as the team adjusts its organizational depth and makes contract decisions.
He will work out of his home at Calgary, but will be with Predators’ officials next week in Montreal for the NHL draft.
“I talked to him a little bit a year ago, but he wanted to come back and play,” Poile said. “When I came back from the (World Championships) this year we talked again, and things worked out. Maybe it’s just a case of the right time and the right place.”
Gelinas played 57 games for Nashville in 2007-08 before he was injured. He went unsigned in 2008-09.
Originally the seventh overall pick in the 1998 draft by the Los Angeles Kings, he played 1,273 career NHL contests and had 660 points (309 goals, 351 assists). He participated in the Stanley Cup finals four times and was a member of one champion, the 1989-90 Edmonton Oilers.
“During the last few years of my playing career, working with the younger players was something I really got a lot of enjoyment out of,” Gelinas said. “It’s a great opportunity for me and I’m excited to be a part of the Predators organization again and have the chance to work with David Poile and his tremendous staff.”