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Abel to Yzerman

The Good And Bad Moves By Ken Holland Plus He Cared About His Players

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

The best moves

Trade for Dominik Hasek

Coming off a first-round playoff exit against the Los Angeles Kings, the Red Wings appeared to be fading in 2001. That changed on July 1, when they acquired goaltender Dominik Hasek from the Buffalo Sabres for winger Slava Kozlov and a first-round pick.

The move helped lure free agents Luc Robitaille and Brett Hull as the Red Wings created a super team with nine future Hall-of-Fame players. The Dominator helped the Red Wings win the Stanley Cup before retiring for one season....

Trade for Brad Stuart

A somewhat under-the-radar move at the 2008 trade deadline, this former third overall pick was acquired from Los Angeles for a second- and a fourth-round selection.

He formed a solid second defense pairing with Niklas Kronwall on the 2008 Cup-winning team and spent parts of five seasons with the Red Wings.

The worst moves

Signing Uwe Krupp

The Red Wings signed the oft-injured 6-6, 235-pound defenseman to a four-year, $16 million deal in 1998, after beating his Colorado Avalanche in the playoffs.

Krupp appeared in only 22 games his first season due to a back injury. The club learned he was participating in dog-sled racing while injured and at one point suspended him. Krupp returned to play eight games in 2001-02. He and the club eventually became embroiled in a legal battle over his contact.

more good and bad...

from Shawn Windsor of the Detroit Free Press,

Holland liked to talk about the emotional connection a general manager makes with players who help build success, and how those players can define a franchise. Or, as he often called it: “a program.”

"People think our team is too old," he said once, as we sat for 90 minutes during a Wings practice as his team prepared for its playoff series against Anaheim. It was 2009.  "They thought our team was too old for the last 10 years. After we won in 1998, you start reading stories. You lose in 1999 and 2000. 'We are too old.' So we went out and got Brett Hull and Luc Robitaille. Well, they are even older. But they know how to play."

He liked veterans. He liked players who knew how to stake and where they were supposed to be. So even when they slowed down, he had a hard time moving on from them. 

more

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Comments

damndog revenge   From the bowels of Detroit's avatar

He should’ve added that Ian White and Carlo Colaicovo to that list.

Posted by damndog revenge From the bowels of Detroit on 05/07/19 at 08:33 AM ET

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He should’ve added that Ian White and Carlo Colaicovo to that list.

I don’t know if those signings were quite up to the level of Hasek and Stuart…

Posted by CharDeeMacDennis on 05/07/19 at 08:38 AM ET

The Meal's avatar

I think KH is going to succeed in Edmonton.  First, he’s got something (new) to prove, and a shorter runway in which to do it.  And second, he’s not hampered down by his institutional entrenchment as in Detroit.  If he wants to cut ties with the Edmonton version of Abdelkader, he’s going to be able to do that.  He comes in with a clean sheet, ties-wise, and I think that’s when he’ll maneuver best.

If only he had a better coach available than Dave Tippett…

Posted by The Meal from Firestone, CO on 05/07/19 at 08:38 AM ET

Hootinani's avatar

And second, he’s not hampered down by his institutional entrenchment as in Detroit.

Not sure how he was hampered by something he created

Posted by Hootinani from the parade following Babs out of town on 05/07/19 at 09:05 AM ET

damndog revenge   From the bowels of Detroit's avatar

I don’t know if those signings were quite up to the level of Hasek and Stuart…

Posted by CharDeeMacDennis on 05/07/19 at 08:38 AM ET

Lol. Right. I didn’t see what list.

Posted by damndog revenge From the bowels of Detroit on 05/07/19 at 09:06 AM ET

damndog revenge   From the bowels of Detroit's avatar

*say

I need not be on this CCall and type here.

Posted by damndog revenge From the bowels of Detroit on 05/07/19 at 09:07 AM ET

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Not sure how he was hampered by something he created

You don’t think Ken Holland was a victim of Ken Holland’s misplaced loyalty?

Posted by CharDeeMacDennis on 05/07/19 at 09:11 AM ET

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If he wants to cut ties with the Edmonton version of Abdelkader, he’s going to be able to do that.

You think it will be easy to cut ties with Milan Lucic?

Posted by CharDeeMacDennis on 05/07/19 at 09:12 AM ET

Hootinani's avatar

You don’t think Ken Holland was a victim of Ken Holland’s misplaced loyalty?

Posted by CharDeeMacDennis on 05/07/19 at 09:11 AM ET

I definitely believe that Ken Holland sees Ken Holland as a victim

Posted by Hootinani from the parade following Babs out of town on 05/07/19 at 09:17 AM ET

Paul's avatar

Oilers will have a major announcement today at noon ET.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 05/07/19 at 09:36 AM ET

w2j2's avatar

He also had some disappointing drafting, particularly 2005-2008:  Thomas McCollum, Brendan Smith, Jakub Kindl, Cory Emmerton,

Posted by w2j2 on 05/07/19 at 09:41 AM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

Holland liked to talk about the emotional connection a general manager makes with players…

And therein lies the problem. In part, Abby got his ridiculous contract because he was a Michigan boy and Holland was running a “family business” instead of just a business. Personal loyalty is a great thing among friends and family members, but it’s not necessarily hepful in a business operation.

But, as The Meal suggests, he may have an easier time making tough business decisions in Edmonton because he’s not emotionally invested in the players. Whether he can maintain that attitude for the long haul is another story.

Whatever Holland has done or will do, I really don’t care any more. I’m just thrilled that Stevie Y will really get to run his own show now without “advice” from Holland.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 05/07/19 at 10:34 AM ET

damndog revenge   From the bowels of Detroit's avatar

Mike Commador 64
Curtis Joseph
Bill Ranford
Wendel Clark
Ken Wregget
Jason Williams
Jiri Slegr
Ray Whitney
Robert Lang

Derek Meech
Ty Conklin
Jan Mursak
Fabian Brunnstrom
Kent Huskins (Fat Savages favorite)
Erik Cole

Posted by damndog revenge From the bowels of Detroit on 05/07/19 at 10:44 AM ET

damndog revenge   From the bowels of Detroit's avatar

Subtle pick ups I liked:
Todd Gill Solid player.
Pat Verbeek
Steve Duchesne
Mathieu Schneider
Fredrik Olausson
Andreas Lilja

Posted by damndog revenge From the bowels of Detroit on 05/07/19 at 10:53 AM ET

Primis's avatar

Curtis Joseph
Jason Williams
Derek Meech
Ty Conklin
Jan Mursak

Posted by damndog revenge From the bowels of Detroit on 05/07/19 at 10:44 AM ET

What?

Cujo did fine for the Wings.  IIRC that was the Dave Lewis-led team that was a disappointment as a whole, but Cujo did just fine.

Jason Williams?  The guy was an undrafted free agent DET signed that went on to a long NHL career (nearly 500 NHL games) and did just fine in his DET stint.  One year he potted 20 goals for DET.  How the $*)(% is that an awful Holland move?

Derek Meech was a 7th round pick that played 144 NHL games, the majority of those with DET.  Was he a world-beater?  No, but he was a versatile enough player they could stick him in a forward in a pinch.  Who should they have drafted in the 7th round then instead?  And DET cut bait on him at the right time.

Ty Conklin?  He was a pretty good backup acquisition I thought, similar to Bernier.  In his first stint anyways.  His second stint wasn’t as good.

Jan Mursak?  A 6th round pick that DET kinda’ unfairly bumped and pushed him on his way out of town?  How exactly was that a bad deal (except for Mursak)?  DET probably should have kept him, given his speed/skating and skillset.  He’s shown in international play to be a very good player.  I kinda’ see Mursak as one that got away.

 

I think KH is going to succeed in Edmonton.  First, he’s got something (new) to prove, and a shorter runway in which to do it.  And second, he’s not hampered down by his institutional entrenchment as in Detroit.  If he wants to cut ties with the Edmonton version of Abdelkader, he’s going to be able to do that.  He comes in with a clean sheet, ties-wise, and I think that’s when he’ll maneuver best.

If only he had a better coach available than Dave Tippett…

Posted by The Meal from Firestone, CO on 05/07/19 at 08:38 AM ET

The irony is if he succeeds, folks will say it’s because someone else drafted McDavid, Draisaitl, etc., similar to how in DET everyone always said Holland got Jimmy D’s players. 

That’s why I’m puzzled he’d go to EDM.  If he really wanted to prove something, I figured he’d go to Seattle and build them from the ground up.  Not EDM, of all places.

Posted by Primis on 05/07/19 at 11:15 AM ET

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If he really wanted to prove something

He doesn’t.

Posted by CharDeeMacDennis on 05/07/19 at 12:51 PM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

I think his worst move Abdelkader’s contract, fine with keeping him, fine with giving a home town lockerroom leader, media mouthpiece guy more term or more money, but you can’t do both and he did, there was just no precedent for that contract, and that will have implications for this team. 

Close 2nd being the trade for Legwand IMO.

Most of those other busts were pre-cap, who cares, aside from Weiss who was a quality free agent that busted, which sucks.

To add to the “best” moves, the Tatar contract 1st, then trade 2nd was spectacular in the cap era altogether, and will/has paid this team dividends, he did pretty good this year with Jensen and Nyquist (Go Sharks?)  He also drafted some really good talent Larkin, Mantha, AA, Bertuzzi (everyone was down on), and he traded Pavel’s deal and got both Cholo and Hronek, the latter looking like the prize at the moment.  He left Yzerman with a lot of young talent on the team, in GR, and even more draft picks to work with.

Posted by MurrayChadwick from YzerGod's pixie dust fueled bandwagon on 05/07/19 at 12:51 PM ET

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Most of those other busts were pre-cap, who cares, aside from Weiss who was a quality free agent that busted, which sucks.

Weiss was damaged goods. A terrible, terrible contract.

There is no way, whatsoever, that Holland should have given him anything close to $4.5M or anything close to five years. That terrible contract also lead to the awful Frans Nielsen contract. Well, that contract and Holland’s lack of faith in Dylan Larkin as a centre.

Posted by CharDeeMacDennis on 05/07/19 at 01:59 PM ET

Avatar

I agree with Murray on Abby contract and Legwand trade as the worst moves that most of us immediately criticized.

Posted by VPalmer on 05/07/19 at 02:14 PM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

He also had some disappointing drafting, particularly 2005-2008:  Thomas McCollum, Brendan Smith, Jakub Kindl, Cory Emmerton,

Posted by w2j2 on 05/07/19 at 09:41 AM ET

Oh jeez I forgot about Emmerton. The one that really bugged me, as much as Abby, was the Helm deal. Still have no idea what he was thinking.

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 05/07/19 at 02:19 PM ET

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It’s pretty hard to blame Holland for moves that worked out poorly because a guy got injured unless the guy has a clear injury history.

I still see the Helm deal as one of the worst because the Wings already had a player ready or near ready to to fill that role in AA. At least with the Abby deal there was no one in the system ready to come in be a top 6 physical forward. But the term on the Abby deal was just ridiculous.

My other major gripe would be how horrendous the Wings did at drafting and developing defensemen in the leadup to Lidstrom’s retirement. They will still pay the price for this blunder for at least a couple more seasons. Goalie has only been marginally better.

Posted by evileye on 05/07/19 at 02:59 PM ET

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I think those are both correct to emphasize, evileye.

Holland’s public references during the leadup to and immediately re-signing Helm were concerning
and things I don’t know if I’ve ever read another GM say: a) too much about knowing Helm growing up through close associations with other people and neighboring lake houses and stuff like that. Maybe that’s shorthand for: I’ve known Darren and about his character for a long time. But it sounded more like complacent cronyism to me. No not as egregious as the Abdelkader deal, but when you combine the two you’re in a bit of trouble.
Second, he actually said: his agent told me he would have been offered (even) more on the UFA market. Well, yeah that’s how UFA works and why so many teams sign middling players to contracts they regret. Why should Holland care? Was Helm at an inflated price going to be that much of a loss? Who signs a bad deal “because his agent said” (or makes that excuse post-hoc)? And if Holland really just has a personal affection for Helm it’s not like he’s giving him his only chance or bailing him out at a show-me price. If Helm really stood to be paid even more Holland should have said: I’m proud of Darren and glad for his opportunity; it just didn’t fit our salary structure. David Poile has won with some moves and lost with some others. But he’s done great with signings. I’ll never forget the quote attributed to him: I love your player at X million/year; but I hate your player at Y million/year.

Second, no Holland’s main focus wasn’t the draft. But he was an ex-scout and he knew there had to be a plan for after Lidstrom and Rafalski and Chelios and even Stuart. But the D picks weren’t just misfires. The team simply didn’t pick very many D. One year they picked zero. Another year I think it was just Logan Pyett very late. For a GM who rarely makes trades and whose team was waning as a UFA destination that omission is just baffling.

Posted by lefty.30 on 05/08/19 at 11:39 PM ET

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Welcome to Abel to Yzerman, a Red Wing blog since 1977.  No other site on the internet has better-researched, fact-laden and better prepared discussions than A2Y.  Re-phrase: we do little research, find facts and stats highly overrated and claim little to no preparation.  There are 19 readers of A2Y. No more, no less. All of them, except maybe one, are juvenile in nature.  Reminding them of that in the comment section will only encourage them to prove that. Your suggestions and critiques are welcome: wphoulihan@gmail.com