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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!

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Kneedroptalbot

    Burger Bob, hires his buddy Ken Holland to run the (landfill) Oilers for a couple of years…. until his right hand man, Keith Gretzky becomes GM.
    Pass the Red Wine please.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Kool-Aid Man

    It really too bad that Holland is willing to risk his legacy as one of the best GMs’ in NHL history, to become a stooge for the cronies. If he IS hired, he had better clean the house out of the OBC faction completely to prove he does have full autonomy. If not, he is just another fool waiting to blamed for the next season(s) of failure.

    • Dallas Eakins Hair

      I am in agreement that hiring Holland is a move to protect the OBC. I have said before I think Holland is past his prime as a GM, Don’t get me wrong Holland did a lot of good things in Detroit in the past, bit last while with Holland at the helM Detorit hasnt fared very well. I dont see Holland working out here and I am not happy with the idea Holland may be GM

      If Holland is hired this is just going to signal no real changes and the OBC will still reign in the backround and wanna bet KG is still going to be heir apparent, I hear the rumors that the Oilers wanted KG as GM but were worried about what the fans thought f it, and they should be worried, the fans have been more than faithful but our patience is wearing thin and rightly so, you can only be dissapointed for so long before you want to change things for the better, but I dont see the Oilers listening to the fans, more another person at the helm the OBC can have act as a puppet GM while the OBC keeps running the show in the backround.

      Does anyone believe Holland will clean house? I sure dont. Does anyone believe that KLowe, MacT Howson, Green Messier ( paul not mark ) are going anywhere? I dont. You will see some lower end mgmt and some other names no one ever heard of get sacrificed, but none of the people from the OBC will go anywhere, maybe a title shuffle, but still in the back wielding power and influence.

      I really wonder if the reason that they had to go to Holland was because Hunter wanted autonomy and the Oilers werent willing to have any of the OBC in a position of peril. Honestly, this is another backwards step by the Oilers with no intention on making the real changes that needed to happen t get the Oilers on and off the ice into a better position for the future. How disappointing!

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • #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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • Shameless Plugger

    I feel like Holland commands respect. I also feel like any of the other inexperienced hires might not have the gonads to let some people in the organization go that need to be let go. I think Holland has not only the gonads but the ability to pick and choose who’s worth keeping and who needs to go.
    In all honesty It wouldn’t matter who they hire people here will find something negative to say about it. Time will tell I guess.

    • 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.

  • 2centz

    On the bright side, Daryl Katz looks like he’s stepped out of the 80’s…. aaaand right into the 90’s

    Seriously though, if anyone doesn’t think this was the plan all along, and that it was coincidence Chiarelli was fired with Ken Holland and the Red Wings in the building, then you haven’t been paying attention.

  • 2centz

    On the bright side, Daryl Katz looks like he’s stepped out of the 80’s…. aaaand right into the 90’s

    Seriously though, if anyone doesn’t think this was the plan all along, and that it was coincidence Chiarelli was fired with Ken Holland and the Red Wings in the building, then you haven’t been paying attention.

  • Boba The Fett

    While I am not necessarily on board with the Holland hire there are a few things people need to consider about Holland and Detroit.

    1. Detroit was the poster child of draft and develop under Holland and it wasnt until just recently that they were forced to rush some prospects.
    2. DET made the playoffs 19/22 years under Holland which would include 10 years in the salary cap era.
    3. Holland was kinda put in a difficult position cap and roster wise when Lidstrom retired with 1 year left, Datsyuk left for Russia before his contract was up, Zetterberg basically was forced to retire due to back issues, his last big signing Stephen Weiss had to retire due to lingering injuries as well.
    4. While their drafting has not been top of the NHL lately they have still made some pretty good mid round picks (Nyquist, Jurco, Mantha, Athaniasou, Mrazek)
    5. He recently fleeced Las Vegas in the tomas tatar deal getting a 1st, 2nd and 3rd.
    6. He got a 2nd and 3rd for Brenda Smith in 2017
    7. He was able to dump the pavel datsyuk contract and actually receive a player and 2nd rounder in return
    8. He is definitely one of the most respected, connected and experienced men in the NHL.
    9. He has a history of surrounding super stars with the depth players required to succeed.

    While he may not be the most progressive minded GM, my biggest fear would be his recent cap mgmt but as I mentioned earlier he has had some unfortunate instances with veteran players.