Detroit Red Wings executive vice president and general manager Ken Holland has signed a new two-year deal, putting a halt to speculation that his tenure would end following two straight seasons outside the playoffs.
“Ken has been integral part of four Stanley Cup championships,” team governor Chris Ilitch said in a statement. “He started out as a scout. Many of the players he scouted became integral to our success. He is tremendous evaluator of talent at our core. When I fly in an airplane, I love doing it with a pilot who has done it before. Ken has done it before.”
Holland, 62, has been the Red Wings’ general manager since 1997. Prior to that, he spent seven years as director of amateur scouting and three years as assistant general manager. Holland was one of the primary builders of a Detroit machine that made the playoffs 25 straight seasons and won four Stanley Cups.
But Holland’s future looked murky the past five years after three straight first-round playoff exits followed by no playoff berths in each of the last two seasons. He also was criticized for suspect cap management — the Red Wings have the ninth highest cap number but are tied for 26th in the NHL standings.
There was extra pressure on the Red Wings to succeed after a new home — Little Caesars Arena — opened in October 2017.
The Red Wings now will trust their long-tenured GM to see them out of this downturn.
One of Holland’s first decisions heading into the offseason concerns coach Jeff Blashill, who has one year left on his contract and is 104-105-36 as Detroit’s coach.