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The Summer Of Ken Holland

from David Staples of the Edmonton Journal,

There’s a large group of vocal critics who contend that Edmonton Oilers GM Ken Holland blew it this summer. For the first time in his career as Oilers GM, Holland had plenty of cap space to play with, but he made a number of ill-advised moves, this group says.

But when it comes to the NHL oddsmakers, they cast a friendly eye on the chances of the Oilers making the playoffs for a third straight season, which would amount to every year Holland has been Edmonton’s GM.

SportsBetting.ag, for example, gives the Oilers a 76 per cent chance of doing so and predicts 97.5 regular season points for the team. Only seven other NHL teams are predicted to get more points than the Oilers. That would put Edmonton at the bottom of elite NHL squads, but still in that group.

Nonetheless, Holland is getting heat, most recently from Dom Luszczyszyn, national NHL reporter for The Athletic, who blasted Oilers management for “squandering” the talent of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.

Luszczyszyn was not impressed with Holland’s work this summer, writing: “The team’s signing of Zach Hyman was a strong one from a bottom line perspective as it does make the team better, but it’s an inherently risky one considering his age, play style and injury history. The term could be a disaster. And that was arguably the team’s best move. Edmonton traded actual assets for the ghost of Duncan Keith, signed Cody Ceci to dollars and term he isn’t worthy of, retained Tyson Barrie despite defensive deficiencies and ponied up a ridiculous amount of money to Darnell Nurse after a career season he is unlikely to repeat.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, Edmonton Oilers, | KK Hockey | Permalink



Welcome to our world, Edmonton. (Now how do you like that 5 year, $5 Million contract you gave to Kenny?)

Posted by exor54 on 09/02/21 at 08:09 AM ET


That would be, $5 Million per year, for 5 years.

Posted by exor54 on 09/02/21 at 08:10 AM ET

dougie's avatar

Time will tell, and Dom may be entirely correct. But if I were Holland, I would tell him to buy a couple of vowels, drink a steaming cup of STFU, and land a GM job somewhere if he wants to build his own team.

Armchair GM’s are just plain annoying . Particularly when they have a national outlet that pays them to spew their outrage to the masses.

Posted by dougie on 09/02/21 at 09:43 AM ET


Holland has to win now, future be damned. The fans will forgive if they win a Cup.
The Athletic is strangely unaware of the dynamics in the league relative to where players will/ won’t play, and why, these days.

Posted by pnwwing on 09/02/21 at 10:08 AM ET

TreKronor's avatar

Go on twitter and you can find a

large group of vocal critics

for just about anything.  None of it really matters - the proof will be in how the team performs this season.

Posted by TreKronor on 09/02/21 at 10:43 AM ET


With the exception of goaltending, I think Holland handled the offseason well. He needs to win NOW and over the next couple of years while their stars are in their prime. That means going all in and probably overpaying some players. The later years of the contracts will be just fine if they have some significant playoff success in the short-term.

What was the alternative? Maintain the course and let some quality players walk? That definitely wasn’t going to improve their chances. Wait on other young players to develop? They cannot afford to waste any more of the star players’ prime years.

I suspect Holland will be keeping a close eye on the goaltending situation and will make a move during the season to make sure it isn’t a weakness. It’s a bit of a gamble but there are always a couple of decent goalies available at a reasonable price.

What I still don’t see in Edmonton is enough quality depth for a deep playoff run. Injuries could easily sink this team.

Posted by evileye on 09/02/21 at 10:45 AM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

Is this team better, yes, is this team a contender, I don’t think they are. But when you have Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, and get bounced in the 1st round, you can’t do nothing. That said, Holland certainly made moves without regard for the team beyond 2024.

Posted by MurrayChadwick from Window Seat on the Captain's Ship on 09/02/21 at 11:16 AM ET

ilovehomers's avatar

I’m not saying these guys are the lightning.

But TB got SWEPT by Columbus 3 years ago. Did not make huge changes, and came back to win 2 cups.

The Oilers could very well bounce back this year and do better with this roster. But it’s not a Stanley Cup winning roster for sure

Posted by ilovehomers on 09/02/21 at 11:23 AM ET


I should also add that I generally like The Athletic, but this writer
leaves a terrible first impression.

Posted by pnwwing on 09/02/21 at 11:27 AM ET

calquake's avatar

Armchair GM’s are just plain annoying .


Posted by calquake from Hoping for the best, preparing for the worst on 09/02/21 at 03:34 PM ET

bigfrog's avatar

As stated by other posters, Holland must improve the goal tending for a shot at the Cup this season. Watch at the trade deadline to see. smile

Posted by bigfrog on 09/02/21 at 07:01 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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