I’m going to make one thing very clear before I even start this off – this is not me bashing Ken Holland. The man has been subject to worlds of criticism for years due to some ill-advised trades, signings, and overall poor cap management, but I am not here to tear him down.
The success Holland brought to the organization should not be forgotten the way it has in the minds of many hockey fans. Taking part in the achievement of four Stanley Cups, six Presidents’ Trophies, sixteen Division Championships, and being the winningest General Manager in franchise history speaks for itself.
With that said, there are massive positives that come with Holland’s departure to Edmonton.
For one, his absence signifies (both figuratively and literally) the end of his reign in Detroit. This is his passing of the torch to Yzerman. The Red Wings are officially his team now, and his alone.
Had Holland stuck around, there’d be some mixed feelings. Would he still want to call some shots? Maybe hold Stevie back? Change his vision? Undoubtedly there would be concern amongst Wings fans.
Steve Yzerman said in response to a question during his introductory press conference that he likes to be in control, likes to be in charge. No longer in any sort of metaphorical shadow of Ken Holland, he is entirely in control of his team.
What a nice ring that has to it.
Another point is the changing of personnel. While this could be an alarming thought for many fans, change can often be a good thing.
The fear of losing the likes of Kris Draper, Tyler Wright, Ryan Martin, Shawn Horcoff, or even someone like Dan Bylsma are all very understandable. But we all need to keep in mind that Yzerman can, and will, bring in the necessary assets, should some join Holland in Edmonton.
My third and final point, which I suppose coincides with the previous one, is that this will be the start of a new-look front office for the Detroit Red Wings – a winning look.
Yzerman has already brought along Pat Verbeek as Assistant General Manager. We could certainly see coaching staff, scouts, and other various positions take on new people with new outlooks.
People who will all contribute their fair share in the Yzer-plan.
Whether these new faces come from within Tampa or not remains to be seen, but Steve’s brother Chris, who’s scouted for the Lightning organization since Steve joined in 2010, is a name that pops out at me.
Some thought that Al Murray, Lightning assistant general manager and Director of Amateur Scouting would tag along as well, but it has been stated that Murray will stay put in Tampa.
Your guess is as good as mine when it comes to the bench bosses. Stevie showed interest in Jeff Blashill, and has given the impression that he’ll stick around this year.
They said that about Holland too, though.
The future of the Detroit Red Wings is in Steve Yzerman’s hands. It’s an amazing, yet extremely odd time to be a Red Wings fan.
For myself, this is the first time in my entire lifetime that Ken Holland hasn’t been the General Manager of the Wings, and anyone up to the age of 36 has never known the franchise without Ken somewhere within it.
To Kenny, thank you for all you’ve done for the Detroit Red Wings, and may you find McDavid’s other winger. Best of luck to the winningest Red Wing ever.