Open Letter To Red Wings GM Ken Holland: It’s Time To Step Down [Opinion]
I’ve been a Detroit Red Wings fan my entire life. I was truly spoiled when I was younger. Owner Mike Ilitch and general manager Ken Holland put together a great product on the ice. Detroit has hoisted the Stanley Cup four different times since I’ve been alive because of these two.
It’s almost been a decade since the Red Wings have won a Stanley Cup. If management continues its ways, it could be another ten years. Ken Holland is a big reason for that.
Holland has handcuffed this organization financially. This team is full of heavy, unworthy contracts. Jonathan Ericcson and Justin Abdelkader are a couple examples of that. Holland seems to have this sense of loyalty to players that were up-and-coming when the team was still contending.
The team isn’t contending anymore. Holland desperately tried to keep a playoff streak going longer than it should have. He continuously signed outdated veterans at the trade deadline to help them sneak in as the #8 seed.
This type of management seemingly pushed Pavel Datsyuk out of town. Datsyuk was arguably one of the best players in the NHL during a portion of his career. He decided to go back to Russia following Detroit’s first round playoff loss to Tampa Bay in 2016. I believe that Datsyuk, like many other people who follow this organization, saw that this playoff run was over.
It looked like Holland finally realized it was time to rebuild during the 2016-2017 season. We saw a handful of different Grand Rapids Griffins playing in Detroit. Before the trade deadline, Holland dealt away Thomas Vanek, Tomas Jurco, and Steve Ott in return for draft picks and a prospect.
Holland then made the most questionable decision in his time as GM. For the NHL expansion draft, he left goalie Petr Mrazek unprotected, giving the newly added Las Vegas Golden Knights the chance to pick him. Luckily, Las Vegas took Griffins star Tomas Nosek. Losing Nosek hurts but its not as bad as losing Mrazek.
Mrazek had a bad 2016-2017 campaign. Detroit’s awful defensive play contributed to that. Before that, he was easily the most valuable asset the Red Wings had. Mrazek is still young and full of talent.
Holland followed that move up by signing 33-year-old defenseman Trevor Daley in free agency. He can help what has been a bad defensive team for the past few seasons. What’s wrong with this move is that Holland is desperately trying to compete still.
This team still isn’t going to win a Stanley Cup. Detroit isn’t even going to win a playoff series. They might win a game or two in a series if they make it to the playoffs. It seems like the only person that doesn’t realize this is Ken Holland.
The most current news has set me over the edge. Holland and current Red Wing Tomas Tatar are struggling to get a deal done. Tatar is a young, talented player that even led Detroit in goals scored last season.
Andreas Athenasiou is currently a restricted free agent. He has showed signs of being great in his limited ice time with Detroit. He’s only 22 years old and has a very high ceiling. Holland will be making a big mistake by letting Athenasiou go in free agency.
Ken Holland is on the verge of putting Detroit in a much bigger hole. Every sports team goes through a period of rebuilding and he can’t seem to accept that. What’s done is done. Holland’s time as general manager needs to be done as well.