Agreed. Holland will pay a guy who is woth next to nothing 2 million, and then do it 5 more times on other guys. Then he'll lose a bidding war on an all-star over 250k.
The thing I'll say about Stan Bowman is that he seems to believe the team with the core they have is good enough to really go for it almost every year, because they are. What bothers me more than anything about Holland, especially after this last run, is that despite having a similar core to Chicago (with consistently better goaltending to boot) in Zetterberg, Datsyuk and even Kronwall for that matter, he seems to sweat every detail and be content to let the core just keep the playoff streak up as opposed to actually try to do something in the playoffs.
Like I've said again and again, if you want to blow the team up and truly rebuild, fine. But actually do it. Don't just use it as a talking point after you fail to land anyone significant once again because you played it too conservative and felt emotionally compelled to sign players you're familiar with.
But if not, don't keep wasting the talents of Z and Dats. They're not getting any younger and this team is too close to not go for it. So what if it doesn't work? So what if we end up having cap struggles? Holland's supposed to be one of the best GMs, why can't he work it out like others have been able to? That's what the best GMs are doing in the cap era, and they've got Cups from this era to prove that they're doing something right.
We won our last Cup in the cap era, but Z and Franzen were also at their career bests and both were on old contracts that paid them very little. We also had two Stanley Cup winning goalies that were playing here for next to nothing. We were lucky, and we absolutely weren't feeling the cap yet. Since the cap truly started affecting contract decisions, Holland has come up with nothing but failures. 2009, if not 2008, was a clear line in the sand for Holland in terms of maneuvering to make this team better with NHL talent via trade or free agency.
I get that Holland has plenty of accolades that attribute to his reputation as a GM, but if you can't see the pattern that's been developing since he truly had to build a team while dealing with a salary cap, you're not being objective. And that should worry you, and it's perfectly reasonable to admit that without taking away from his former successes. It's a different league and he's dealing with different rules now than he had to before. But again, the great GMs of the cap era have to find a way to work around those rules, and they can't ignore free agency or trading altogether if they're going to be successful.
And for the love, you have to get more hardline with the current guys on your roster that are getting older if they want to stay. Guys like Cleary are nicer to have around than they get credit for, but not at the money being talked about, and not when you have talent like you do in GR. If they're going to stick around, they need to play ball, and Holland needs to be willing to let them walk otherwise. I think in many cases, you'd find guys willing to adjust their expectations if Holland's expectations on what a reasonable contract for an older role player is. Bottom line, decent playoff run or not, Cleary should absolutely not be getting a raise to stay on with the Wings at this point in his career. He should be one of the guys saying "pay me less and sign the guys that will help put us over the top." If Holland went out and signed those guys that anyone would be excited to play with, he'd have that leverage. Right now, he doesn't, and it's his own fault.