A Look Back at Ken Holland’s Tenure as Detroit Red Wings General Manager


The Edmonton Oilers will face the Florida Panthers in the 2024 Stanley Cup Finals. The former general manager of the Detroit Red Wings, Ken Holland, is the general manager of the Oilers. This is the first time that Holland has led the Oilers to the Stanley Cup Finals. In 22 years in the role for the Red Wings, on the other hand, Holland won four Stanley Cups. The Red Wings made it to the Stanley Cup playoffs 25 years in a row with Holland as general manager.

Holland joined the Red Wings organization in 1985 as an amateur scout, a position which he held for two years and was then named Director of Amateur Scouting in 1987. He built the Red Wings into a team that made the Stanley Cup playoffs 25 seasons in a row. In that time, the Red Wings won four Stanley Cups, but it could be argued that the lack of talent on the roster following these 25 years was due to the team giving up draft capital in order to extend the streak.

One thing that cannot be disputed is that Holland won when teams could spend without fear that they would go over the salary cap. The NHL introduced a salary cap after the 2004 lockout. This was the first time that one of the four major American sports leagues missed an entire season. The Tampa Bay Lightning are the only team to win back-to-back Stanley Cups in the salary cap era. A team like the Lightning winning a Stanley Cup and not having to move out many of their players to deal with the salary cap is a feat in and of itself.

Steve Yzerman replaced Holland as general manager of the Red Wings in 2019. Prior to this, Yzerman was the general manager of the Lightning from May 2010 to September 2018. In that time Yzerman built the Lightning into a perennial Stanley Cup contender. Yzerman has remade the Red Wings in the time that he has been the general manager of the team. The next challenge is to lead the Red Wings team to the Stanley Cup playoffs, something that the team has not done since 2016.

Holland is the general manager of a team that has superstar Connor McDavid as its centerpiece. McDavid was drafted by the Oilers with the first overall pick in the 2015 NHL entry draft. The last time the Red Wings had the first overall pick in a draft was in 1986, when the team selected right-winger Joe Murphy out of Michigan State University. Murphy played less than 800 games for the Red Wings and, scored 233 goals and added 295 assists.

Prior to the 2023-24 NHL season, McDavid has been the leading scorer in the league for the last three seasons. However, this has not led the Oilers team to have success prior to this season. Prior to the 2023-24 season, the last time that the Oilers franchise had made it to the Stanley Cup finals was in 2006, when they lost to the Carolina Hurricanes. This is not for a lack of talent on the current roster. The last time the Oilers won the Stanley Cup was in 1990 when the Oiler’s roster included such names as Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, and Jari Kurri.

The current-day Oilers also have Leon Draisaitl on their roster, who is also one of the top 10 players in the NHL. In 81 games played during the 2023-24 season, Draisaitl scored 41 goals and added 65 assists for 106 points. This was the second most on the Oilers during this season behind McDavid, with an astonishing 132 points in 76 games played. Draisaitl was drafted third overall in the 2014 NHL entry draft, while Dylan Larkin was drafted by the Red Wings 15th overall in the same draft.

Much in the same way that Yzerman had to change his game under then head coach Scotty Bowman, McDavid needed to adjust to new head coach Kris Knoblauch’s coaching style after Jay Woodcroft was fired after the first 13 games of the 2023-24 season. The Oilers started the season with a 2-9-1 record. As former Montreal Canadien Steve Shutt once said, “We all hated Scotty 364 days a year. On the 365th day, we collected our Stanley Cup rings.”

We Got The Jack Inside The Rink

In episode 8 of the Inside The Rink podcast, Matty and Smitty are joined by new co-host Conrad Jack. After the long hiatus, we get back to hockey with a PACKED episode!Matt Rempe & the Devils vs. Rangers Line BrawlCould the Vancouver Canucks squander a playoff opportunity? Have the Winnipeg Jets finally figured out their lines?Flyers Head Coach John Tortorella is a sound byte MACHINEOvechkin is on his way to 895, Who is next?McDavid joins elite company with 100 Assists in a seasonRyan Hartman was suspended 3 Games, was it worth 3 games??Can Auston Matthews hit 70 Goals this season?The Eastern Conference Wild Card race is heating up, who lands the two playoff berths?For all of your hockey news and more from the show, visit us at insidetherink.com and watch us on YouTube! How to support us and our sponsors:TicketmasterColumbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITR
  1. We Got The Jack
  2. Episode 7. Player Safety First!
  3. Episode 6. Early Trade Season
  4. Episode 5. Longing For The Chiarelli Years
  5. Episode 4. Ottawa’s On Fire

One thought on “A Look Back at Ken Holland’s Tenure as Detroit Red Wings General Manager”

  1. the author is wrong. PIT won back-to-back stanley cups in 2016-2017. they along with tampa are the only teams in the salary cap era to have won 2x in a row.

    the author originally mentioned that tampa was the only team.

    the author should research his facts first b4 writing articles.

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