“As we go forward over the next year or two, and we’re trying to transition from older people, it’s important we’re competitive,” Holland said in a conference call. “
Holland is looking long-term, but would still like to see this particular roster contend.
“The hope is we can hang in,” Holland said. “The longer we can hang in, the better the environment is for everybody, for the fans, our players, especially for our younger players.
“My focus is probably a little bit down the road, (but) hopefully we can hang in and be in the playoff race. In order for that to happen, some of the young people that were on the team last year need to take another step. We need some of the veteran players to play at the same level or a touch better.
“Dealing with young people, there’s no track record. If all those young people can take a little step, we can be relevant. If not enough of those players take a step forward, or take a step backward, it’s going to affect our ability to compete.”
Defense is the same, minus XO. Jensen is bad, Dekeyser is a 2nd pair D, and the rest are on the back side of their careers.
Zetterberg, Vanek, Nyquist, Abdelkader, Nielsen, Helm, Glendening, Witkowski are all either going to be about as good or worse. Larkin, AA, Mantha hopefully will improve. Frk is what he is if he makes the team. Bertuzzi will probably make the team, but he's going to top out as a 2nd/3rd line guy. There's 12 spots locked up, with Frk, Turgeon, Svechnikov, Rasmussen, and maybe Zadina fighting for one spot. A smart GM whose team was in the Wings' position would be signing guys to one year minimum salary deals with the understanding that if a young player is even close to as good as the vet, the kid gets the spot. Holland isn't doing that.