Ken Holland has been the general manager of the Detroit Red Wings since 1997. The team saw a tremendous amount of success during his two decades at the helm of the club, winning three Stanley Cups and putting together a playoff streak that ended just last year.
There’s no doubt Holland has an excellent resume, but is he the one to steer the ship through Detroit’s impending rebuild? It appears ownership is giving him a chance to do so. According to Ansar Kahn of the Detroit Free Press, the Wings will be bringing back Holland for the final year of his contract. Whether he gets and extension to stick beyond then is unknown.
As I mentioned earlier, Holland has seen tremendous success over his tenure as Red Wings’ general manager. That said, not much of that has come since Hall of Fame defenceman Nicklas Lidstrom retired in 2012. Then, after Pavel Datsyuk left the team to play in the KHL, the Wings missed the playoffs for the first time since 1990. So while Holland has augmented teams around core legends like Steve Yzerman and Lidstrom by finding additions like Brett Hull, Brendan Shanahan, and Dominik Hasek to push the team over the top, he’s struggled to build a successful team without those elite core players.
At this point, the Red Wings’ future looks murky at best. They have a horrendous cap situation in which 10 (!!!) different players are signed to deals with no trade/movement clauses. Multiple depth players are overpaid and will be extremely hard to move. The team has some prospects worth mentioning, but nobody near the calibre of, say, a Connor McDavid or Auston Matthews. And, of course, the team is bad enough to miss the playoffs but not bad enough to win the lottery and acquire a talent like one of those aforementioned payers.
Regardless, Holland, for now, is the guy who’s steering the ship. He knows the organization inside and out, and organization knows him inside and out. That said, with names like Kyle Dubas, Paul Fenton, and Tom Fitzpatrick floating around as names ready to take on a full-time general manager gig, is it time for the Wings to move in a new direction?