Report: Oilers could be nearing deal with Holland as General Manager

We’re on the home stretch here, folks. The General Manager search of 2019 is close to coming to a close, and we have our prime candidate. Sources are saying that the Oilers are very close to finishing the ongoing negotiations with the current Senior Vice President, and former General Manager of the Detroit Red Wings, Ken Holland.

Mark Spector broke the news earlier today, claiming that the Edmonton Oilers have officially offered Holland complete autonomy of the organization. This means Holland has the sole decision to hire and fire whomever he chooses. Spec goes on to say that negotiation will continue throughout the weekend and that a press conference to announce the hiring could happen early next week.

Since Kelly McCrimmon was announced as the new General Manager of the Las Vegas Knights earlier this week, we learned that the Oilers GM position search has been narrowed to names such as Ken Holland and Mark Hunter, with the possibility of Keith Gretzky as well.

Spector states in his article that if hired, Holland will bring Detroit’s director of amateur scouting, Tyler Wright, with him. Believe it or not, Wright was drafted by the Oilers in the first round of the 1991 NHL Entry Draft. If Holland is hired, there is a large possibility that Keith Gretzky remains with the organization to help out on the professional scouting side of things as well. Maybe they will even keep him as an assistant General Manager? Only time will tell.

If Nicholson and the Oilers organization are able to finalize a deal to bring Ken Holland in as the new General Manager, do you think we’ll be headed in the right tracks? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

        • I am sure this exhaustive search was just a bunch of texts exchanged between the OBC. The Hockey Canada connection does not pass the smell test. There never was 10-12 people interested. No need to wonder why. Scouts that live in the Bahamas, Skills coach that apparently does his job from Toronto. The S*hit show never ends with these clowns.
          My apologies to those who are actually clowns that do it for a living.

        • Shameless Plugger

          Think about it. Why would a guy leave a cushy job to not have full autonomy to make personal decisions ? If you don’t think he’ll be THE man in charge you’re not paying attention.

  • Oilers_1978

    considering the current state of red wings…i am not so hopeful…last few fears in Detroit:
    1. ave to bad drafting..
    2. cap mess..

    if Ken is here, he should be the POHO and someone relatively new as GM (Keith or Hunter)

    and for sure sweep the entire glory day bod boys..

  • D

    If this is true, then all those big mouths in the media that “shot down” the information provided by that Saskatchewan sports announcer earlier this week owe him an apology.

    • cityofchampions

      Rod Pedersen tweeted this out before McCrimmon was promoted in Vegas, and was adamant about it. He knew back then that this was in the works, and that should give everyone pause. The Oilers weren’t “considering” other candidates, Holland has been the choice for some time now. Pedersen is the real insider, all the “hockey insiders” were quick to say that Holland wasn’t a serious candidate and now they are scrambling to “fix” the story by explaining that Holland was a late entrant after McCrimmon was promoted. Pedersen was right, it is and has been Holland for quite some time now.

    • ed from edmonton

      There seems to be at least two new “reports” from “hockey insiders” each day on the GM file. So maybe we should wait until this evening’s rumour comes out likely contradicting this one. The only this for certain is that whatever choice the Oil make most people on this site will trash it.

        • cityofchampions

          Well that’s certainly the case for you, and for a lot of the constant complainers on this site. If Hunter is hired, then you’d all be wanting the experience of Holland. If Holland is hired, then you’d all want the new blood of Hunter. If both were hired, you’d find a way to complain about that too. As for me, at least Holland has been around the block and has the necessary connections to start correcting the mess here. He left a cushy retirement job in Detroit because he still wants to be a GM, so I don’t expect he’ll accept any interference from the OBC. My hope is that he can finally clear the OBC out of hockey ops, getting rid of Howson, MacT, the pro scouts etc (Katz might move MacT to the business side, to keep WG and KLowe company in the paid friends of Katz department) However I don’t think that these paid FoK will have any influence on Holland, though I do suspect that KG, who has show competence, will stay in hockey ops as head of pro or amateur scouting.

  • TKB2677

    I am not sure what to think. If he comes in to be a POHO/GM but is more of an overseer while he grooms someone else. Maybe it would be OK provided he brings in good people.

    I guess if he comes in, fires all the guys he needs too and someone jedi mind tricks someone into taking Lucic, then maybe I can give him my support.

  • Rick Stroppel

    I have no particular problem with Holland as GM. Literally ANYONE would be better than Chiarelli. I look at it this way: who is more likely to move out the deadwood, Holland, Mark Hunter, or K. Gretzky? If they hired Holland as GM, it could be a prelude to getting rid of Nicholson, making Holland the POHO, and hiring some sharp young guy as a GM. It could be the beginning of the end of the OBC.

    • camdog

      The Oilers are just like the Federal Liberal’s, they are all buds, they won’t turn on each other just promote each other to another position within the organization.

      • jesse says yep

        Cmon, if you are going to bring politics to these comment boards (really wish you wouldn’t) at least don’t be an ass. What you described, Cronyism and self aggrandizement, is politics in a nutshell and has been for at a least as long as you have been alive. . This is not isolated to either side of the aisle. For either side, follow the money and you find their motive.

    • fisherprice

      Hahaha this is rich. So an “exhaustive” and lengthy search goes right out the window as soon as Nicholson’s old Hockey Canada buddy might be available. It’s the exact same reasoning Holland used to hire Chiarelli without even bothering to look for anyone else. So you think that Holland, long time friend of Nicholson, who only would get the job because of Nicholson, is going to somehow fire his boss… Bob Nicholson?

  • CityofWhat

    I would’ve preferred Hunter but the Oilers like doing thinks their way which is a way of failure of gigantic proportions.
    Bobby Nicks hiring Hockey Canada buddy doesn’t surprise me.
    If Bobby Burger had any clue about what he was doing he wouldn’t have asked other executives about how to do a process of a GM hire. Getting it right is the furthest thing from this organization and quite frankly I’m sick of it.

      • CityofWhat

        Hunter had 3 years in T.O as an assistant GM, most GM’s in the league started as AGM, Holland best before date is expired IMO. Chiarelli had previous experience too but will go down as one of the worst GM’s in NHL history.

  • billsbills

    This is a bad flucking joke. Detroit had absolutely zero cap space at the end of last year and are in worse position than the Oilers going forward. Anyone who thinks this is a good idea needs a bat up side the head. Not condoning violence, just having either the sense knocked into them or put them out of commission so they can’t make this hire. Seriously what has Detroit done in the last 5 years that was better than what Edmonton has done? They have 8 players on their roster with no trades including the top four of a mediocre defence. They are still paying on two buyouts and their team sucks!!!

  • Hemmercules

    No idea of what to make of Holland as GM. Could be good, could be bad. Feels somewhat like another Chiarelli type hire though. If he has the power to fire a bunch of people and bring in better people then it might be ok. As others have said, Holland was good a decade ago but what about now? I don’t think he has Detroit in the same situation Chia had boston in and I know for sure Holland hasn’t made deals that he lost terribly like pretty much every deal Chia made as an Oiler and some in Boston. I will try to remain open minded until he makes Reinhardt trade and then I will know for sure we are doomed again.

    • Randaman

      This could mean that we have Hitch for another year. After the Leafs choke in the first round next year, Babcock will be on his way to reunite with Holland.

      • Randaman

        Besides that, maybe this gives Holland a new breath of life and he turns this ship around. I am trying to remain positive until all the dust settles. Glass half full for now.

      • Hemmercules

        Im still wondering what the fate of Hitch will be? I think he may be coach again but I thought he could maybe a POHO type guy too?

        Looking at cap friendly just now. Detroit was really capped out this year and wasn’t close to being a playoff team. Not to mention they are riddled with NMC’s. Feeling a little worried now……

        • Mcjesus97

          Hitch is a coach I don’t see him as an executive. Plus I think if holland comes in he keeps Hitchcock as hc. There just isn’t any better coach available right now.

  • TKB2677

    One thing I will say is, I don’t see a vet, well respected GM who doesn’t need a job, quitting his cushy, I assume extremely well paid job with the organization he’s been with for 37 yrs, to come to the Oilers to be a puppet and be told what to do and who he has to work with. I am not advocating for Holland and right now, I don’t even know if he would be a good addition but I just don’t see him coming here unless he gets to fire and hire who ever he wants.

  • Simmerdown

    NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO. Why does this team have to always focus on the past. RAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!

  • Mcjesus97

    Still a better choice that hunter or Sean Burke this man was a gem for what 22 years the 2 other guys have never been a gm. I’d rather an experienced gm than a rookie to come in and try to fix this mess. And for those of you saying he hasn’t been that good past few years come on no matter who was the good the red wings that was going to happen they were a powerhouse for a good 15 almost 20 years it’s bound to happen

  • Hockeytalkguy

    You know the lyrics “throw another log on the fire” just substitute log with tire. Seriously Oiler fans, does this really surprise you? I am completely numb to the stupidity of this organization.

    • GM-macT

      Sounds about right, they brought back brodziac past his prime, same with looch and Hitchcock just to name a few. Why not find a GM that’s no longer able to keep up the the demands of the modern NHL. Chia couldn’t understand how to manage a salary cap thus leaving his former team in cap hell. I wonder what makes Bob think Holland will miraculously learn how to do that since Detroit is facing a similar issue. I really hope at least one of the MSM has the guts to ask a few tough questions regarding cap management when this presser is held to announce yet another callosal mistake

  • cityofchampions

    Well the one upside is that Holland as the gravitas and authority to get rid of the deadwood. If he first MacT, Howsen and the Pro scouts that’s a great start, and something that a first time GM (KG, Hunter, Burke) might not have had the ability to do. MacT might move over to business side like WG and Lowe and hang around collecting paychecks to be Katz’s friends, but with Holland in the big chair I have less fear of them influencing hockey ops.

    • GM-macT

      I think the old boys club gets too much credit. If you compare what happened in Boston during Chia’s reign with what he did in Edmonton, it’s the same story, trading away quality players for lesser ones and horrible cap management. Compare that to Mac T as GM, we were all complaining that he was to patient kept talking about bold moves but wouldn’t actually do anything. Not defending Mac T as a GM, I didn’t think he was very good but the last 3 years doesn’t look like anything he did while in that position.

    • Vanoil

      Doesn’t work that way. Holland IS POHO in Detroit, though I doubt he had/has any authority to do anything contrary to Sevie Y; which is why he will gladly join the OBC here. Sad day in Deadmonton.

      • fasteddy

        Do you honestly believe Holland was shoved aside to make way for Stevie Y? Get real. He brought him in there. He was his mentor previously, they have been friends for 25 yrs. There was no “sorry Ken, you’re out he’s in”….Ken orchestrated the whole thing.

  • harborman

    The biggest fraud is Bob Nicholson. MacT, Howson, Sutter and Green should all have been fired. New GM or new POHO should have had the ability to completely redo Oilers front office(follow Shanahan template). Sorry Holland’s best before date expired 15 years ago!

  • tkfisher

    I really hope this isn’t the case. I don’t think Holland is the guy for the job. That being said, if he does have “complete autonomy” to hire and fire who he wants, isn’t that the POHO’s job? Thus making Bone Head Bob’s “position” redundant. If this mean Bob no longer has input, it’s a little more exciting, but only marginally. Apathy is starting to win the day and its sad. I never though there would be a time when we had the most exciting player in the league and my level of care would be this low.

    • IRONman

      If Holland has full control, then helluva good move. Obc can go. K Gretzky should stay. Gretzky has done good. Holland has 4 cups. Built 1997 to 2002 team. 1984 til 1997 was bad for Red Wings, kinda like Oilers now.

  • #97TRAIN

    This fan base absolutely sucks balls.what a complete bunch of whiners.
    Is Holland supposed to win absolutely every year?
    Correct me if I’m wrong but didn’t he build that powerhouse in Detroit?
    How come people were so quick to praise Babcock and absolutely swoon over him but Holland is a bad pick ?
    Autonomy was the word I was looking for.

    • Hemmercules

      Detroit has been bad for 6 years now. Albeit they did make the playoffs in the first 3 of the last 6 years but got ousted in round 1 every time. The last 3 years they have been awful and spent right to the cap. 8 players on Detroit with NMC’s too.

      Holland was a great pre-cap GM when he could spend anything, times have passed him I think. Maybe this works out but the league is changing and they would likely be better suited with someone else.

      Maybe they are going this route because he will have no problems making front office changes? A new younger GM may be resistant to just start firing people right away? I’m not saying Holland will be a terrible decision but looking at the state of Detroit right now, it looks a lot like Boston when Chia left. At least Boston still had guys like Marchand, Rask, Krug, Chara and Bergeron to work with. What does Detroit have?

    • GM-macT

      Holland did most of that in Detroit with no salary cap. The league has changed, you can’t look back 20 years and ignore the last 5. Detroit sucks now and they have the same cap situation as the oil. We don’t want to hire another dude who is going to build a team that can win a cup in the late 90s or early 2000s.

  • hockeyartist

    Too bad, would rather avoid the have beens. Hunter would be so much better, he’s seen a tonne of Junior, knows the way the game is trending (something previous completely ignored the last 15 years), and has NHL experience. Enough of the been there done that. They need a fresh approach.

  • FanBoy

    We’re seeing a lot of Holland bash because he has the most experience. We can’t bash KG or Hunter or Burke because we haven’t seen them do anything.

    I don’t think he’s a good GM at this point and we’d be hiring him for his namesake and ability to command respect from other GMs. However, he’s probably not as sharp as he once was and that’s why we need a GM who can do a majority of the leg work and let Holland approve/disapprove any hockey decisions. Let someone hungry and innovative get a shot at running the team.

    The only good thing about this hire is that between Holland, KG, or Hunter, Holland probably has the most power in letting go of MacT/Howson/Lowe. Guy has nothing to lose at this point so he could either be coming here to collect cheques or just completely blow up the whole front office and further solidify his career as a great GM.

    I hope KG stays on as AGM or in a scouting role. Also hope Holland brings in an heir and someone he’s willing to guide for the next 2-3 years ala Burke or maybe even Hunter.

    • Randaman

      Lowe is not in Hockey Ops. He can’t be fired. MacT, Howsen, Green & Sutter should be jettisoned to the sun but Lowe isn’t going anywhere. Get used to it.

  • elliotsmom

    Look at us. We fell for it again. BN holds a presser and brings Gretzky in to confuse us, as he makes this long elaborate announcement that he will be taking his time turning every stone doing, an exhaustive search for a new GM. He used the time as a smoke screen until Holland was ready to part ways with the Wings because he was ousted by Yzerman. All of us knew Yzerman was going to Detroit. Nicholson thought he was being cute having us believe he was seriously interviewing candidates for the job, and we did believed it. Bloggers wrote, analysts speculated, fans commented, radio talk shows discussed…. We were tricked again. Nicholson was just waiting while we were anxious and excited, to do what he originally planned–hired an old friend!!!! When are we ever going to learn??? I bet he will be all smiles as he makes a grand speech when he holds his press conference.

    • Hemmercules

      It just wouldn’t be Oilers without move like this. Go for the name and the distant past achievements, disregard the current resume. Nothing is concrete yet though so maybe it wont even be Holland. It would be one amazing feat to see him come in and drive the team even further in the toilet though. I already preparing myself for it.