Imitating Ken Holland

Jonathan Willis
September 30 2010 12:28AM

NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 22:  Jim Nill (L) and Ken Holland (R) of the Detroit Red Wings share a laugh during the 2003 NHL Entry Draft at the Gaylord Entertainment Center on June 22, 2003 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images/NHLI)

Aside from the Lou Lamoriello diehards, most people would agree that the best general manager in the NHL over the last decade or so is Ken Holland of the Detroit Red Wings. And while every year broadcasters, fans, and even NHL teams talk about adopting the model of the latest Stanley Cup winner, there’s been a persistent desire to emulate the Red Wings because of their success.

Fortunately for us, Red Wings G.M. Ken Holland has explained time and again different facets of his strategy, seemingly unafraid that people are going to start taking his advice to heart. And much of what he says is relevant for this year’s edition of the Oilers.

Read Article | 141 Comments

Oilers Send Out Six; Battles Remain

Jonathan Willis
September 27 2010 04:57PM

VANCOUVER, CANADA - SEPTEMBER 19: Johan Motin #29 of the Edmonton Oilers looks on during a stoppage in play in a preseason game against the Vancouver Canucks on September 19, 2009 at General Motors Place in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)

We had been told to expect cuts today, and the Oilers didn’t disappoint, releasing one player and ticketing five others for Oklahoma City.

Read Article | 104 Comments

A Look Back At The 2009-10 Preseason

Jonathan Willis
September 26 2010 05:06PM

Apr 11, 2010 - Anaheim, California, USA - Anaheim Ducks' defenseman Sheldon Brookbank, left, controls the puck from Edmonton Oilers' center Patrick O'Sullivan during the second period an NHL Hockey game at Honda Center.

Every year, fans starved for high quality hockey flock to the NHL preseason. Coaches and managers watch the games, and the performance of individual players can have a big impact on whether or not they start in the minors or on the big league roster.

And to be fair, it’s a fun exercise. The reality, though, is that a handful of games against competition that varies from wildly underpowered to nearly NHL calibre is a very poor gauge of player performance. We don’t need to do much more than look at last season’s Oilers to see that.

Read Article | 37 Comments

Dubnyk vs. Deslauriers: How Close Is It?

Jonathan Willis
September 25 2010 03:11PM

DALLAS - APRIL 02: Goaltender Devan Dubnyk #40 and Dean Arsene #8 of the Edmonton Oilers dive for the puck against Loui Eriksson #21 of the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center on April 2, 2010 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Leaving aside from the approximately one in five members of the Nation who would love to see the Tri-City Storm’s goaltender coach suit up as Nikolai Khabibulin’s backup this season, the poll on the right shows a more than 3:1 lead for Devan Dubnyk as backup goaltender over Jeff Deslauriers.

I agree that Dubnyk is the better choice, but I’m surprised to see things so lopsided and I think it would be a mistake to suggest that Dubnyk is a vastly superior prospect to last season’s de facto starter.

Read Article | 59 Comments

Hall, Paajarvi, Eberle and the Big League

Jonathan Willis
September 25 2010 01:45AM

With all the focus on Jordan Eberle, Magnus Paajarvi, and of course Taylor Hall at this year’s training camp, I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about whether it might be a good thing for one (or more) of start the season in Oklahoma City.

Read Article | 43 Comments