Really. Because last time I checked, the “cap era” began in 2006 right?
2006 - President’s trophy
2007 - WCF
2008 - Stanley Cup champions
2009 - SCF
Anyway, you can credit Lidstrom, Bowman, Nill, Captain America, Marion Illitch’s hairdresser, whoever the f***. Doesn’t matter. The results above speak for themselves and they all most definitely happened in the cap era.
I know it seems like I’m defending Holland but really I’m not. I’d never dream of it today. I’m just saying there has to be a line of sensible thought drawn through all of this mess, and maybe that starts by toning down the hyperbole.
But you have to admit, those years were unique for the Wings, and the team that had the most success was primarily a team built before the cap. When they got back to playing, they had the benefit of a salary rollback and they were able to buyout some deals that weren't close to reasonable with a cap and keep the core of the team together. Not only that, you had the unexpected rise of Franzen, who had his most success when he was making very little money. Zetterberg wasn't making star money until 2009 I believe despite being a bonafide superstar; wasn't his deal before his current contract for less than $3 million? I want to say $2.2 or $2.8. Either one was well below the value he brought to the team at the time.
But I'm not really trying to take anything away from him so much as not given him too much credit for actually building a cap team, because I don't think he had to start building a legitimate cap team until 2009. You have to admit, he was lucky to have Franzen breakout while making next to no money, and getting away with paying Z less than $3 million throughout that period was of tremendous benefit. With that kind of luck and those RFA deals, there are likely a lot of GMs who could've done less than Holland had to and still had a tremendous amount of success.
I mean, seriously, despite the salary cap and despite having a ton of talent up front, those lingering RFA deals allowed him to sign Hossa to a big 1 year deal in the summer of 2008. That's no small or ordinary thing, especially with no cap hit trickery from a longer deal to lessen the blow. For the team to be as loaded with talent as they were in the cap era and still be able to pull that off seems utterly laughable now, but again, we were lucky to have those lingering RFA deals and Franzen became a beast seemingly out of nowhere for a couple years.
When tougher decisions started having to be made in 2009, that is when the reality of the salary cap started weighing down on how this team would be built, and it's been all downhill since. Every summer since the summer of 2009, he's been caught flat footed and unprepared. Even he has flat out admitted that at times, earlier on though more than in recent years.
So sure, he had great success early on in the cap era, but how much that success had to do with him having to build a team in the cap era and how much it had to do with pure luck, rollbacks and outlandishly amazing value on some RFA deals is debatable. Again, I'm not trying to take anything away from his success at that time, but I also don't think that era represents Holland's ability to build a true cap era team, and I don't think it serves as justification to continue to give him more chances after five years of him failing to address needs and countless flat out bad signings.
- rick zombo likes this