I understand that nobody is in the room, but you can't give the guy a pass on the bad because of it and only 'see' the good when someone signs. Ultimately, Holland's track record in FA signings isn't that good the last several years.
List of Holland's big signings (~$2M+/year) since the last Cup:
08-09 - Marian Hossa (1yr - not re-signed)
09-10 - None
10-11 - None
11-12 - Ian White (2yrs - not re-signed)
12-13 - Jordin Tootoo (3yrs - compliance buy-out)
12-13 - Carlo Colaiacovo (2yrs - compliance buy-out)
13-14 - Daniel Alfredsson (1yr - not re-signed as yet)
13-14 - Stephen Weiss (5yrs - played 26 games and scored 4 pts in year 1)
14-15 - Kyle Quincey (2yrs for a player Detroit was ready to walk away from)
The Suter/Parise snub was at least 'understandable' given the same money/term from Minnesota and the connection the players felt. Having Niskanen, Boyle, and Erhoff walk away from potentially more money in Detroit (in some reports) is more concerning. The fault isn't all on Holland, for sure, but top management should be looking in the mirror and trying to determine how to get better regardless of where you lay blame.
And, as someone else points out, FA isn't the only key to success. You have to draft well, too. So how many top-6 forwards or top-4 defensemen has Holland picked up in the last six-seven drafts?
2008-09 - Gustav Nyquist
2009-10 - Tomas Tatar (maybe)
2010-11 - None
2011-12 - None
2012-13 - None
2013-14 - Anthony Mantha (projected)
Drafts are much harder to judge especially for a draft-and-develop team like Detroit. The Wings do have a couple kids who still project well, too. But a lot don't. They are bottom-six / bottom pair grinders. It's drafting by a team/GM which relies on supplementing his home-grown talent with pick-of-the-litter FAs. You can't draft grinders and then not come through on the FAs...
The Wings haven't been a team which settles for 'serviceable' over the past few years. Is that what Detroit is becoming?
Jurco, Ouellet, Sproul say hi
That makes a rate of 1 a year since 08-09! Pretty sure that's better than most teams...especially considering we draft middle of the pack, low, or give away our first every year
Subban shoulda gotten 8, he's not better than Doughty/Weber although he benefits from having a Norris to his name
The comparisons to the Kane/Toews deal are sort of valid, but at the same time, let's keep in mind that Kane and Toews are two of the most popular, recognizable players in the NHL.Chicago has the biggest bandwagon fanbase in the NHL and if you lose Captain Serious and Kaner, you lose a whole bunch of revenue.
Montreal likes Subban but they'll always have a fan base and it wouldn't be the end of the world if they lost him.