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Is Ken Holland Losing Moxie as General Manager?
- Updated: July 22, 2012
It’s been a rough summer for some teams, but the hardest hit may be the Detroit Red Wings. Things were bad after being eliminated from the playoffs in the first round by the Nashville Predators, but took a turn to worse when Nicklas Lidstrom announced he was retiring. Despite all this, fans still had things to look forward to: Ryan Suter and/or Zach Parise.
As one of the premier teams in the NHL, and headed by the arguably the games best GM, the Red Wings were expected to at the very least land Ryan Suter in free agency. Many analysts even suggested the Wings would sign Parise as well and immediately be the easy pick for winning the Stanley Cup in 2013. Instead, Holland was outdone by Chuck Fletcher, GM of the Wild, who signed the two most coveted players of the offseason.
Making matters worse for Holland and the Wings, their former captain and GM protégé Steve Yzerman quickly stacked his blue line in Tampa Bay. On July 1st, Yzerman signed Sami Salo to a two year deal worth $7.5 million. Of course, this move wouldn’t have made sense for the Wings as they wanted to land the big catch, right? So while they waited to fly to a Wisconsin farm, Yzerman snagged a solid top four defenseman. But soon after the Wings lost out on Suter, Yzerman swooped in again and quickly signed Matt Carle to a six year deal worth $33 million.
In the matter of four days, Ken Holland and the Red Wings had lost out on what could have been two solid additions to their defensive corps. While his priorities lied with signing Suter, his back up plans signed elsewhere and left the Wings with a giant hole to fill on the blue line.
But let’s get real here, this summer isn’t the first time Yzerman has gotten the best of Holland. In fact, the trade which sent Kyle Quincey to the Red Wings worked out for Tampa Bay as well. Sure they lost Steve Downie to the Avalanche, but they gained a first round pick from Detroit, as well as a prospect. And you’d have to think that Yzerman knows what he is getting in a Red Wings prospect. The Red Wings have signed Quincey to a two year contract worth $7.55 million – meaning for two more seasons they’ll struggle with a defenseman who they thought had such great potential that they waived him in 2008.
While Holland can still be credited for assembling an incredible Red Wings team in 2002 with signings such as Luc Robataille and Brett Hull, the highly regarded GM hasn’t delivered for the Wings since his 2007 signing of Brian Rafalski, which eventually led to another Red Wings Stanley Cup win.
Despite the Red Wings signings of Jordin Tootoo, Jonas Gustavsson, and Mikael Samuelsson, Holland has once again disappointed fans with the lack of a big move. In years past, it was Holland stealing great players and assembling the perfect teams, but this has failed to happen recently. His last ditch effort of making a move for restricted free agent Shea Weber has even been stomped on by the Flyers. Even if the Wings manage to sign Shane Doan, or perhaps trade for Bobby Ryan, their defensive unit as it is will not be enough to carry them to the Stanley Cup next year. If Holland can’t regain his moxie and make a high impact trade and the Wings fail to make the playoffs, you can bet that people will begin to call for a replacement.
What do you think about the Red Wings GM? Has he lost his touch in signing top tier free agents? Sound off in the comments and let us know who you would want as your GM.