Ken Holland has decided to keep Keith Gretzky on his staff. According to an official statement from the organization, Gretzky will revert back to his previous role as Assistant General Manager.
#Oilers General Manager & President of Hockey Operations Ken Holland announces that Keith Gretzky will remain with the team in the role of Assistant General Manager.
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) June 11, 2019
Gretzky was originally hired by the Oilers back in July of 2016 to be Peter Chiarelli’s Assistant General Manager. After many years of working with the Arizona Coyotes, Gretzky worked in the scouting department of the Bruins during Chiarelli’s tenure in Boston. When Chiarelli was fired midway through the 2018-19 season, Gretzky took over as the Interim General Manager, though the Oilers did employ a decision-making-by-committee approach during that time.
Gretzky was reportedly a finalist for Edmonton’s vacant General Manager gig, though the organization ultimately opted to hire the experienced Ken Holland for the gig instead. Given how highly he was viewed by the organization during the GM hiring process, it isn’t overly surprising that the Oilers wanted him to remain with the club.
Keith Gretzky very happy in new role. He's taking over from Craig MacTavish looking after Bakersfield, plus keeping AGM title. Gretzky and Bob Green will be running draft too with Green lead dog as chief scout. Gretzky scouted lots of juniors before taking over for Chiarelli
— Jim Matheson (@NHLbyMatty) June 11, 2019
According to Jim Matheson, Gretzky will take over Craig MacTavish’s old gig looking after the Bakersfield Condors, which ultimately ties into his overarching role of handling amateur scouting. Matheson further suggests that Holland, who, like Gretzky, came up in management as a scout, will be grooming Gretzky for an eventual General Manager position.
I do believe that some amount of nepotism has played a role in Gretzky’s career, but there’s also merit to his work. Gretzky, whose work consists largely around scouting and the draft, deserves credit for smart selections like Dimitri Samorukov, Kirill Maksimov, and Ryan McLeod.