According to Mark Spector of Sportsnet, the job of Edmonton Oilers next general manager is Ken Holland’s, if he wants it.
Holland was always on the backs of people’s minds but after news broke yesterday that Kelly McCrimmon was going to be retained and promoted by the Vegas Golden Knights, the prime candidates for the job became Mark Hunter, Sean Burke, Keith Gretzky and, the dark horse, Holland.
It was speculated Holland was out of the running only because he might have pulled himself out of the running. Being an integral part of bringing Steve Yzerman back to the Detroit Red Wings, speculation was that Holland would either stay and work with Yzerman in another role, or that he simply wasn’t interested in becoming Edmonton’s next GM. It appears that may have changed as reports are now he’s taking stock of his future.
The Update by Spector
Spector wrote on Friday, “The Edmonton Oilers are all-in on Ken Holland. But is the Detroit Red Wings icon ready to commit to Edmonton?” The sticking point for Holland was apparently complete autonomy to hire and fire who he wanted. Bob Nicholson has now put that on the table.
The question in Edmonton now becomes, ‘Will Holland accept?’ In case he doesn’t, it sounds like Hunter, Burke and Keith Gretzky are all on standby.
Hunter was long-rumored to be a strong candidate and Burke was said to have impressed but Ryan Rishaug of TSN reported on Thursday that Burke was informed he would not be hired as the next GM.
Rishaug then updated fans on Friday when he said, “Morning all, Your daily GM speculation fix… Hunter and K.Gretzky right down to the wire, with the caveat that if Ken Holland wants to be a GM, he could be the guy. I’d expect things to be resolved in next 4 or 5 days barring any setbacks.”
What if Holland Takes the Job?
If Holland does, in fact, accept the position, the reaction will be a bit polarizing. Some will say, with his history to Nicholson that this is much of the same from the Oilers. Others will suggest Holland isn’t afraid to do what’s needed.
A third section of the fan base might ask, if Holland can do what’s needed?
The issue surrounding Holland is that he might be a bit outdated to today’s NHL. For years, he was considered the top GM in the business but as the game has changed, more of an emphasis has been placed on analytics and the Red Wings weren’t as successful. Holland has had some trouble keeping his team’s competitive, his big-name stars left and he wasn’t able to replace them.
Some of that might be on him, some of that out of his control.
Holland Could be a Good Fit
Barring all of the downers saying Holland is more of the same, he might actually be the best fit of the remaining candidates. With his history in the NHL, he’s not afraid to do whatever it is he believes will need to be done. He might be right and he might be wrong, but he won’t be afraid.
One of the biggest complaints about the Oilers (I made it yesterday in my article about McCrimmon) is that the Oilers tend to repeat the same mistakes as an organization.
Time will tell if this offer becomes a mistake but Holland certainly won’t be afraid to stick his neck out there and he’s got guys that he trusts to do the job with him. Spector states in his article that if hired, Holland will bring Detroit’s director of amateur scouting, Tyler Wright, with him.
What Do You Think of the Holland Offer?
Is this Edmonton rushing a decision and making an offer mere hours after the McCrimmon news? Is this the guy the Oilers might have always wanted? If he accepts, is he the right man for the job?
There’s no denying he’s the most experienced candidate out there. Does that make him the right choice?
Jim Parsons is a senior THW freelance writer, part-time journalist and audio/video host who lives, eats, sleeps and breathes NHL news and rumors, while also writing features on the Edmonton Oilers. He’s been a trusted source for five-plus years at The Hockey Writers, but more than that, he’s on a mission to keep readers up to date with the latest NHL rumors and trade talk. Jim is a daily must for readers who want to be “in the know.”