Ken Holland is predicted to be introduced because the Oilers’ new GM any day now, however Edmonton’s entrance workplace and the longtime Detroit Purple Wings architect are taking a danger with no assure that it’ll pay dividends.Ken Holland|Dave Reginek/NHLI through Getty ImagesThis time was purported to be completely different. And for some time, it truly was. The Edmonton Oilers canvassed the hockey world for candidates to fill their vacant GM place. They talked to individuals across the league, compiled a complete record of names and did their analysis on every of them, extensively interviewed them and received their enter on every part from the best way to get the Oilers out of a cap hell to their prime teaching candidates. One one who was interviewed mentioned he spoke with Oilers president Bob Nicholson for six hours and got here away impressed with how effectively ready Nicholson was and the way a lot he had achieved his homework.
So then what did Nicholson and the Oilers do? In spite of everything that work, they went out and threw $5 million a yr on a five-year contract at Ken Holland, a man who wasn’t even interviewed and whom Nicholson has a relationship from his time at Hockey Canada. For a franchise making an attempt to shake the old-boy community picture, it was a curious method to go about issues.
So what will we make of all this? The protected and prudent selection or the predictable one doomed to fail…once more? Nicely, after all, all of that may depend upon Holland’s efficiency and which route he goes down with this franchise. If he’s Jim Rutherford 2.zero, Nicholson will appear to be a genius. If Holland is the second coming of Peter Chiarelli, the Oilers can be mired in mediocrity for one more decade. (And by the best way, Oilers followers have each proper to query Holland’s hiring and take a look at it warily. They don’t seem to be the issue in Edmonton. They don’t seem to be poisonous. They react the best way they do as a result of their workforce has been dismal, dysfunctional and horrible and all these individuals have achieved is stored supporting it.)
Ken Holland is 63 years outdated, two years youthful than Rutherford was when he took the helm of the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2014. When you suppose there’s criticism to the Holland hiring in Edmonton, take a look at how individuals in Pittsburgh reacted to the Rutherford hiring. However what Rutherford delivered to the Penguins with him from Carolina was his decisiveness and his abashed braveness to swing for the fences. He noticed two world-class gamers who wanted to be supplemented and he made daring selections, each when it comes to participant personnel and training, that led to the Penguins successful two straight Stanley Cups. So age will not be an element right here. Not in any manner.
Chiarelli was solely 50 when he took over the Oilers hockey operations in 2015. Like each Rutherford and Holland, he had gained a Stanley Cup and checked off a number of containers for a workforce seeking to construct round a celebrity participant. However he made a collection of franchise-crushing strikes that set again that rebuild. He additionally didn’t have the clout Holland should marginalize the cabal of former Oilers that did a lot to assist create this example within the first place.
Ken Holland is a terrific hockey thoughts who has made some errors. Sure, the Purple Wings regressed beneath his watch, however a part of that was a pure regression that was prompted by the truth that the Purple Wings have been perennial contenders who usually needed to deal futures in trade for gamers who might assist them within the current. The Pittsburgh Penguins presently maintain the mark for consecutive appearances within the playoffs with 13. Nicely, the Purple Wings virtually doubled that till they missed the post-season in 2017. The actual fact is, there are presently, oh, about 25 groups that will gladly swap their previous twenty years with the Purple Wings’.
It’s clear that Holland might have been content material to easily be a figurehead and advisor in Detroit and cemented his legacy by going quietly into the evening because the Purple Wings rebuilt themselves right into a contender. For as a lot injury as he did with questionable contracts, the Purple Wings are literally in a fairly great spot when it comes to their rebuild and higher days are forward, partially due to a few of the issues Holland put in place earlier than he left.
He’s taking an infinite danger right here. If he is available in and is decisive and daring the best way Rutherford was and the Oilers do return to critical contender standing, historical past can be type. However talking of the Oilers, Glen Sather had a Corridor of Fame profession there as coach and GM, then undid a lot of his legacy together with his dealing with of the New York Rangers. Nothing is assured right here both manner.
The Oilers have been a franchise that has been unable to get out of its personal manner for the higher a part of the previous decade. Holland will clear up a lot of that and he’ll instill a way of oneness and integrity to a hockey division the place these specific qualities have been missing. His first order of enterprise, except for hiring the correct coach (which has been one other millstone for this group), can be getting the Oilers’ cap state of affairs so as.
Ken Holland brings immediate credibility, success, a way of competence and clout to the Edmonton Oilers. He additionally brings a good bit of bags. He has the latitude, assets and time to get this proper. The betting on this nook is that he finally will.
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Tags: detroit crimson wings, edmonton oilersConnect: In regards to the AuthorKen CampbellKen Campbell, The Hockey Information’ senior author, is in his second tour with the model after an eight-year stint as a beat reporter for the Maple Leafs for the Toronto Star. The Sudbury native as soon as tried out for the Ontario League’s Wolves as a 30-year-old. For sure, it did not work out.