Red Wings GM Ken Holland linked to open Oilers position

Nicholson’s buddy? Check. Old Boys Club member? Check.

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It’s been nearly two months since the Edmonton Oilers fired former general manager Peter Chiarelli, yet Oilers CEO Bob Nicholson doesn’t appear any closer to naming his successor. Nicholson has been impressed with the way that interim GM Keith Gretzky has handled matters in the six weeks since Chiarelli was let go and is under serious consideration to take over the position long-term.

Other candidates, of course, are Vegas Golden Knights assistant GM Kelly McCrimmon and Toronto Maple Leafs assistant GM Laurence Gilman. One name that hasn’t come up in rumors though is long-time Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland… until now.

In his latest 31 Thoughts column for Sportsnet, Friedman reports that Nicholson took meetings with several individuals during last week’s GM meetings in Florida and Friedman himself draws a straight line between Holland and the Oilers’ vacant GM position.

Check it out:

Everywhere you went at the GM meetings last week in Boca, Edmonton CEO Bob Nicholson was meeting with someone. He was rarely alone, constantly picking brains for ideas and candidates. There’s been a lot of reporting on names, but the list goes deep and it will be interesting to see how many interviews are done.
Several executives from other teams advised him to take as much time as possible, that there’s no such thing as taking too long to get it right. It also gives the Oilers more time to see what shakes loose. For example, depending on what happens in Detroit, I could see Nicholson asking old friend Ken Holland what his future plans will be.

Not sure how Oilers fans would feel about this. The biggest criticism of the team over the past decade and a half has been its reliance on nepotism and the “Old Boys Club” of former Oilers greats and their friends/family. Holland has a close relationship with Nicholson and if he were in fact hired, there’s no doubt that Oilers fans would see it as just another example of management putting over “one of their own” rather than hiring the most qualified individual.