I'll ask again, and maybe get an answer from some of the "Not a destination franchise" conspiracy theorists. I think fans think if they repeat it enough times it will make it so. The facts just don't support it.
Who are all these high quality players who have refused to play for the Red Wings? Kesler didn't have Boston on his list, does that make them not a "Destination Franchise". He didn't have the LA Kings, you know the team that's won two of the past three Stanley Cups? I guess they aren't a destination franchise either.
All the same fans bemoaning the loss of getting Kesler were the same ones whining we didn't get Bobby Ryan. How'd that work out for Ottawa? Made them a contender, eh? Luckily for Ryan, they were a destination franchise with a history of winning and a bright future.
Who were all these big name free agents that the Wings signed year in and year out before?
Do I like all the moves that Holland has made? No. But fans expect Holland to keep all the youth, keep all the stars, and still trade for top quality talent and sign every free agent on the market all while having low draft picks year after year.
No franchise, in any sport, is a contender every single year for decades at a time. Get over it.
I specifically said that I don't give a rats ass about Kesler and that you can't blame Holland for not getting Kesler when we clearly had no chance based on Kesler's list. I'm honestly glad we didn't get him because I don't think he'd make the kind of difference we really need and hopefully at this point people will stop obsessing over the possibility of trading for him. I only got into the matter in this thread because rick zombo, one who speaks up on Holland's behalf almost as much as many others criticize him, touched on the very thing that I think ultimately summarizes the problem with Ken Holland's management of this team over the last five years. It just continues to boggle my mind how people can see the problem that we now have and not look at the big picture and question how it came to this.
Believe me, I am the last person who thinks it's realistic to be able to sign all the stars for cheap, draft high, take advantage of killer lopsided trades in our favor, and so on. I get that you don't win every year. I get that you're not a contender every year.
But five years ago, and for many years beforehand, we were easily one of the top 3-4 destination teams year in and year out. We'd be on most players lists who had NTCs. We'd have a fair shot at signing free agents who want to be part of a franchise that goes for it every year. Sure, it was still absurd to expect to sign everybody and trade for everybody, and I never suggested otherwise at the time, but like I said, we were in a much better position to do so relative to the position we're in now.
It'd be one thing if you could say that we're still up there near the top, because no matter what, it was going to be harder to have the kind of teams we had at the start of the cap era when we were able to pay elite players like Dats and Z far less than they would ultimately be worth when they would eventually sign deals as UFAs. I get that and respect that and I'm totally fine with that because in all honesty, I think the parity that the cap has brought really has made hockey more exciting in general. But we're no where near the top anymore; we're lucky to be floating around the middle, and it's becoming ever more debatable how much we deserve to even be there.
When you really stop to think of where this team was at five years ago, it's truly shocking that we have fallen as far as we have. We were a fresh Cup winner, and came within one goal of winning back to back Cups. We were a team that people wanted to be a part of, and despite the fact that the cap era has minimized the leverage any one team can have, we still had what little of it was left to be had, and it's an incredible benefit more than ever in the cap era. And we also had a fair amount of mid-level talent that we ultimately could've afforded to move in order to make deals that might have solidified the future of this team. But that's where much of the problem began.
We had tremendous luck with some of our low draft picks over the years, and I think it's fair to say that it might've caused management to become a little overly confident about certain guys. It's hard to even hold it against them though when you look at the string of luck we had. But whether or not some of the guys we got hung up on had even developed into the types of players they hoped they'd be, we had other needs to account for, and we no longer had the ability to buy our way out of a dilemma in the cap era. We also had golden opportunities to lock up already developed talent that we let slip away because we didn't want to part with younger players or prospects. In the cap era, you've got to give something up to get something in return, and we had assets to move. Sure, it'd sting if we moved a guy that went on to become another Datsyuk, but if you do so in order to bring in elite talent, or you do so to bring in people who can bridge the gap between the Lidstrom era and the post-Lidstrom era, you've got to make the move. You can't sit by idly waiting for Lidstrom to retire while hoping every draft pick turns into a star, but that's basically exactly what Holland did, and look where we're at now.
Holland didn't prepare for the future, plain and simple. He dropped the ball. Whatever plans he may or may not have had do not matter, because the bottom line is nothing happened. We watched three of our top four defensemen leave in the span of one year, and Holland to this day has failed to address even a Stuart-sized hole.
For the love, you go on about how it's ridiculous to think that we can sign everyone and give up nothing and basically run a team like it's a video game, but are you really going to sit on that high horse and suggest that at some point in the last five years, Holland couldn't have found a way to at least sign or trade for a defenseman that's on the same level as Stuart??? And do you want to tell me that even something such as that would be asking too much, despite the fact that he's the least talented of the defensemen we lost?
I know I get wordy when I post (spending too many years as a history major screwed me over for life when it comes to being concise...), but I really don't think you are at all recognizing the simple point I'm making nor the fact that I'm not at all whining about a failure to land elite guys. What bothers me is that he can't even find a way to bring in good mid-level guys, and on top of that, the mediocre mid-level guys he keeps bringing in have mostly been colossal flops that amounted to cap space being burned for nothing. And the only thing that bothers me about Holland not wanting to overpay for elite players is that he says these things and then goes on to overpay for mid-level players that literally do nothing to help this team.
And most of them are forwards!!!
We still haven't filled a single hole on defense with a meaningful player that one could compare to Stuart, and we keep blowing money on completely ineffective forwards.
For five years now, this team has been slipping, and Holland truly seems to be at a loss as to how to at all slow it down. Please, give me some examples of things that he's done that have made the team better and added some stability that can be relied upon to help the team over the next 3-4 years. What has he done in the last five years, while the team has gone from being at the top of the league to barely floating in the middle, to suggest that he is leading this club in the right direction?
Again, believe me, I know full well that you have to be a fool to think that anyone could pull off a tenth of what some of the crazy fans expect out of the GM, but five years into this slide, I think it takes another sort of fool to think that Holland isn't largely responsible for the pace of this team's free fall into mediocrity. Even if you were to be completely objective with an extra dose of generosity, I don't think you could come close to finding as many good moves and decisions Holland has made in the last five years compared to his bad moves, his missed opportunities, and his inability to follow through on any sort of transition plan. And he's supposed to be the best GM in the league? Absolutely, without a single solitary shred of doubt, he has not come even remotely close to being the best GM in the league over the last five years.
At some point the excuses have to end, and it needs to be very, very, very soon. Just as Rafalski's retirement should've been a wakeup call to start building a transition bridge for the defense, Z's back injury should be a wakeup call that we need to be start building a transition bridge for offense and perhaps more importantly, leadership. If he thinks it's been hard to deal with the struggles of the last three years, I shudder to think of how he'll react to the struggles to come as we near the end of Datsyuk's and Zetterberg's careers.
I won't say that he doesn't have it in him to be a great GM somewhere, but I simply can't find a reason to say that I believe he has it in him to be an effective GM of the Detroit Red Wings anymore. Believe me, I wish I could, as I have nothing against him personally. But five years into an ongoing free fall from elite status to mediocrity marked by far more bad moves than good ones leaves me little hope of him turning it around. I'm not saying he's incapable of it, and it's totally reasonable to believe that maybe he will find a way of turning it around. Even I can admit that it's totally possible and that he has the general knowledge and skill level to do it, but at some point he's got to prove he still has the nerve and foresight to run this team well in the cap era, and if he can't do that very, very, very soon, he needs to be replaced.
Edited by gcom007, 28 June 2014 - 10:05 PM.