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Report: Ken Holland has ‘a role’ with Oilers if he chooses, likely won’t be with team at the draft

Edmonton Oilers Ken Holland
Photo credit:Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
22 days ago
Among the myriad storylines to follow with the Edmonton Oilers this offseason, a few may be larger than who the team’s next general manager will be.
The contract for current general manager Ken Holland expires on June 30th, but according to TSN’s Darren Dreger, his tenure with the organization may not come to an end.
Dreger reported Tuesday “there’s a role for Ken Holland moving forward in Edmonton…IF he wants it,” adding the expectation is he won’t be at the team’s draft table when it kicks off on Friday.
As Dreger added, more clarification is expected in the coming days.
If this is the end of the line for Holland in the general managers’ chair, he will leave behind a complicated legacy in Edmonton. On one hand, he’s the one who helped assemble the team that came out of the Western Conference to make it to the Stanley Cup Finals for the organization’s first time in 18 years, but on the other hand, some of it was done in spite of him, not because of him.
The Oilers are now in year nine of Connor McDavid, and the fact the organization was just able to make it to the finals is undoubtedly something looming over Holland, and Peter Chiarelli before him. His blunders are notable, looking at the Jack Campbell contract, the bridging of Darnell Nurse and subsequent long-term extension, and the Zack Kassian extension as some of his biggest mistakes.
In the same breath, a number of moves Holland made helped shape the team we see today. The signing of Zach Hyman will go down as one of the best in NHL history, while the acquisition of Mattias Ekholm has also been a key contributing factor. Picking up Brett Kulak on the blue line at the 2022 trade deadline was also a solid move. Evander Kane has been solid for most of his tenure with the Oilers but could find himself a cap casualty with two years left on his deal paying him $5.125-million.
Holland was also responsible for Keeping Nuge Forever, inking him to his $5.125-million deal that will see him be an Oiler for life.
What comes next for the Oilers remains to be seen. While it’s a possibility the organization has a new general manager in place ahead of the draft and free agency, it feels like it’s a process that should take longer than just a few days.
In the meantime, any organizational decisions when it comes to the draft and player movement will likely be done in a collaborative effort.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@thenationnetwork.com.

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