You know what I meant, zombo. I'm not actually saying Ken Holland doesn't know how to field a good team in the cap era. I'm saying you do have to wonder just how good this guy really is at his job and just how much credit he really deserves. The pre-Cap era was, I dare say, mostly easy for him. That carried over to the first few years of the cap era - specifically, 2006-2009. We still had some core pieces from the 90s teams, and we got pretty lucky with Datsyuk and Zetterberg. We've been in decline since 2009, and the argument can definitely be made that it's because Holland is being forced to prove his mettle in a landscape that doesn't grant his organization any intrinsic advantages. It's new ground for him, and he doesn't seem especially comfortable. The huge competitive advantages are disappearing. Stealing Russians. Scouting the most obscure corners of Scandinavia. Limitless spending. Having depth left over from those days of limitless spending. Having Nick Lidstrom. Knowing puck possession is everything. He can't lean on this stuff anymore. We're not ahead of the curve anymore.
I want to believe that the past five years have been a rebuild. That he realized the best thing this team could do is be good but not great and build up a stable of promising young talent through the draft. But even there, Holland has done so much that suggests he doesn't really have a plan or vision. He'll offer Suter and Parise the moon, and then, on losing the bidding war, turn around and say that there's no hockey store and you have to build through the draft and blah blah blah. He'll say it's the kids' time, and then he'll re-sign Quincey and Cleary and Gustavsson and Alfredsson and almost surely start Jurco and Mantha in GR.
Nill and Yzerman have done wonders for their respective organizations. They've been proactive, they've thought outside the box, they've made some hard decisions, they've taken risks. They've built something out of mostly nothing. Those teams are damn good, and they're only going to get better. They could've easily made excuses and said this is going to be a long process and half the teams in the league don't make the playoffs and blah blah blah. They know what needs to be done and they're doing it. Meanwhile, the Wings are stuck in the mud. Our two best players are old and injury prone, and that's not counting Franzen or Alfredsson or Kronwall. Howard hasn't won anything but he's getting paid like a top goalie. Kindl's cap hit is $2.4M for the next three years. No one wants to sign with the Red Wings, and Holland's response is, "I don't know why this is happening. But I'm not remotely worried. (Because I'm Ken Holland and everyone knows I'm a genius. Ask Helene, she'll tell you.)"
This is also a great post.
But, similar to what I’ve said in another response, Yzerman and Nill have had more to work with in terms of young stars and high picks. No? More assets. More flexibility to be bold?
Holland’s biggest “asset moving window” was in 08-09. He could have moved Filpilla, Hudler, and Franzen for a Seguin-type guy then maybe?
Holland’s safer than houses and blander than oatmeal. But he’s still a top 5-10 GM in this league right now.
He never deserved all of the credit he received, but he surely doesn’t deserve to be butt-punched the way he has been today.
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.
This is a good post.
But Holland’s done a respectable job of managing the cap.
Sometimes I think people forget how the NHL works now.
You absolutely have to built your team through the draft. I don’t have to tell anyone where Detroit has had the luxury of picking from since 91 do I? Holland’s at an automatic disadvantage. It’s a miracle that Datsyuk and Z were as good as they were or we would have been picking Doughty 2nd overall in 2008, not LA.
Victim of his own success.
I can only truly disapprove of Holland’s cap management for one reason. Hossa vs Franzen. Kenny could have kept Hossa and gotten a king’s ransom for Mule after those two back-to-back playoff runs. Who knows? That coveted #1 D man could be our right now via the Franzen trade that never happened. The Bowman’s would have traded his ass.
Cap hit is pretty much irrelevant since nobody wants our money. 2 years kind of stings. He had us by the balls but this deal hardly holds us back from improving
I’m as furious as the next guy. Mostly because the media is having a field day with anti-Detroit propaganda.
But I agree with this.
Also, for once, I’m actually terrified that we’re going to rush some of these defensive prospects out of desperation. In short, I would have loved Erhoff or Niskanen on this team, but I’ll take a desperate KFQ signing over potentially ruined Sproul’s development arc because we need someone to play #4 - #6 minutes on a disastrous D.
Wings brass. You have two years to ensure that these young defensemen can walk onto a team that’s moving forward properly.
A thought: didn't Holland lowball Suter and Parise initially? Maybe that's the practice that's turning people away. You lowball someone, that pisses them off, then you ultimately say you'll give them more, but you've lowballed them and now you seem desperate and they'd probably love nothing more than to throw it in your face, provided they have good offers elsewhere.
I don't think Kenny knows how to be competitive in the cap era. Things have to happen on his terms, at his pace. Free agents have to fall into his lap, practically beg to sign with the Wings. Half the team has to be injured for our most promising kids to get a good solid look.
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.
And f*** the Rangers. Why would Boyle want to go there? What’s so special about them? They were over-rated last year, benefiting from an inspired Habs victory over Boston. They are going to be worse this year without Poulliot, Brian Boyle, Stralman, Brassard, etc.
Any Wings fan that knows what’s up knows that there is about a 5% chance that they actually want Quincey back. This quote is just the product of a PR spin. The Wings official site is not going to come out and say “the Wings have no interest in bringing back Quincey because he sucks”.