I don't think anyone's arguing (well, at least...) that Holland wasn't a great GM at one point. What a lot of people are noting is that as we have moved far enough into the new era where we really started feeling the weight of the cap, Holland's struggled to show that he can maneuver well in free agency or with other teams via trade. That is a real problem, right now. It doesn't matter that once upon a time he did this or that; "this or that" from "way back when" have no bearing on "hear and now." Hear and now, he can't figure out how to sign or trade for difference makers, and he's tried plenty.
Holland's let people slip away that he shouldn't. He continues to cling to players he shouldn't. He overpays for mid-level talent based largely it seems on familiarity. He tries to underpay for high-level talent, which ultimately has failed every time. And when he fails, he's the king of revisionists, make no mistake. That guy finds a way to reshape everything that happened as part of some master plan, and it must be working, because there's plenty of non-critical thinkers who keep falling for it and praising Holland because of what he did in another era now long past us.
Oh, I guess it's easy forgetting in an instant that Holland was desperate to throw $9 million plus at both Suter and Parise last summer.
Oh, that's right, I remember now, Holland is so smart for not overpaying for free agents!
Now that we didn't sign them...
"We like our team."
I'm not trying to take anything away from what Holland has done, but if he was as great of a GM as people want to paint him to be in this cap era, he would not be struggling so much in the free agency and trade markets. You can say all you want about what he did in the past, but no one willing to be objective can say that Holland has shown that he has a strong handle, let alone any handle, on helping this team via trade or free agency lately. And like it or not (for the sake of some of ever-shifting argument), trade and free agency are still very important parts of this game.