Whether or not he is a legit candidate is still up for debate. Regardless of that, everyone seems to agree that the Edmonton Oilers would love to get their hands on former Red Wings GM Ken Holland. The only question is if Holland would love to get his hands on the situation that is the Edmonton Oilers.
On Monday Rod Pederson, the former voice of the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders, tweeted that Holland will be Edmonton’s next General Manager. Naturally, Oilers Nation handled that calmly and did not rush to conclusions….
The next GM of the Edmonton Oilers will be Ken Holland.— Rod Pedersen (@rodpedersen) April 29, 2019
TSN’s Ryan Rishaug later took to Twitter to calm the masses, essentially following up on a report from his colleague Darren Dreger last week that said Holland is not a candidate for the job right now.
Ken Holland is not an option for the Oilers at this point and no permission has been sought from Det. to speak with him. No change from @DarrenDreger report last week, Holland is not on the short list of candidates for the job as of now.— Ryan Rishaug (@TSNRyanRishaug) April 29, 2019
The most important thing here, for me at least, is that the Oilers haven’t even sought permission from the Red Wings to interview Holland. That would indicate that Holland has not received an official interview to this point and that he is likely not even a thought in this process.
When Dreger initially reported that Holland likely wasn’t going to be involved last week, he made an interesting note that Holland had pulled his name from the hat. Many people, myself included, think it is just a matter of time until Holland ends up in Seattle as GM of the new expansion team.
What if Holland were to throw his name in the Edmonton hat, however?
In addition to previous tweet, I would add that if Holland was interested in the job, he would immediately be a serious candidate for it. But again, at this time he’s not an option.— Ryan Rishaug (@TSNRyanRishaug) April 29, 2019
So, Oiler fans, we aren’t out of the woods with Holland just yet. His name just won’t go away.
Just Do(n’t Do) It:
I’ve seen a lot of Oiler fans and media, both locally and nationally, suggest that Holland would be a great fit in Edmonton. I couldn’t disagree more with that suggestion. Yes, Holland has three Stanley Cups to his name, but I truly believe that is misleading.
There was a time when Holland was one of the best GM’s in the game, but that time came before the 2004-05 lockout. In the cap era, while Detroit enjoyed tons of success early, one could argue that Holland made numerous missteps.
The core players in Detroit are tough to assign to Holland. When he took over in 1997, the Wings were already a championship team that had tasted glory. They did so twice more with that core group of players, all brought in prior to Holland’s arrival. Yes, he added some solid pieces via free agency, but that was in a different time.
Guys wanted to go to Detroit to get their ring, and there was no salary cap to restrict teams from spending heavily on talent. A big market team with deep pockets like Detroit? It was relatively easy to sign guys that wanted to play for you.
The Wings did win a Cup during the cap era, but again it was with a large group of homegrown players that didn’t require nifty trades or free agent additions.
I’m not saying Holland was a failure in Detroit, he was far from it. He did some good things, and he did help keep Detroit going by making some solid deadline additions and by putting a solid development plan in place at the AHL level. He let his scouts do their job, and more often than not they delivered.
That said, I think it is unfair to credit Holland with being the architect behind those Detroit teams. He came in at the perfect time, and only had to guide that group of All-Stars. I’d be careful to not give him too much credit for that, quite frankly it is misleading.
Oiler fans know firsthand how crediting someone for past success, in a different era, can be a fatal mistake. One of the big notches in Peter Chiarelli’s belt was that he won the 2011 Stanley Cup as GM of the Bruins. That came in a time where the game was bigger and tougher, as opposed to the speed and skill game we see today.
Chiarelli failed to learn from his mistakes and failed miserably in Edmonton. Holland, like Chiarelli, failed to adapt to the changing times in Detroit and now finds himself out as GM of the Wings.
Sure, an old dog can learn new tricks, but Holland has done nothing to suggest that he has learned to this point.
The Red Wings, like Edmonton, are virtually noncompetitive now. They are in salary cap hell, like the Oilers, and have handed out far too many long-term, big money contracts to veteran players beyond their best before date. Sound familiar?
Holland left the Red Wings in a very similar spot as the Oilers find themselves in now. They are a team that struggled to adjust to the new era, and they find themselves in cap hell as a result of overspending on guys that could have helped them in 2013.
Bob Nicholson wants Ken Holland to be his next GM, but Holland doesn’t seem to be willing to make that move. Oiler fans should be thankful, because Holland simply is not a good fit for this hockey club.
There’s something in the water, so please don’t go back to the same old Hockey Canada well Bob.