There’s no denying that Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland is one of the most accomplished GMs in NHL history. The Red Wings lifer has been the architect of three Stanley Cup championships in Detroit in 1998, 2002 and 2008 and was instrumental in the team’s 1997 championship as, well. Since then however, Holland’s record has been pretty spotty.
Despite his best efforts Holland has saddled the Wings with some truly terrible contracts in recent years. Combine that with the botched negotiations between himself and forwards Tomas Tatar and Andreas Athanasiou this offseason and it looks like Wings fans have had enough. Fan confidence in the team has never been lower and things only seem to be trending in the wrong direction.
Just one glance at Wings’ salary chart is enough to send any red blooded fan to Holland’s door, pitchfork in hand. The team is currently $3 million over the NHL’s salary cap and possesses one of the weakest rosters in the league. Frans Nielsen at $5.25 million? Danny DeKeyser at $5 million? Gustav Nyquist at $4.75 million? Jonathan Ericsson at $4.25 million? Justin Abdelkader at $4.25 million? Darren Helm at $3.85 million? Ouch, those are all tough pills to swallow. Even worse is the term on some of the deals. Several of the players are signed for three, four or even five more seasons.
Is it time to end the Ken Holland Era in Detroit? With a new building and some new blood in the lineup from the AHL champions Grand Rapids Griffins, is it time to start a new era of Detroit Red Wings hockey?