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Wings success highlights GM Holland’s development philosophy

Apr 11, 2014, 9:40 AM EDT

Gustav Nyquist Getty Images

The Detroit Red Wings will make the playoffs for the 23rd consecutive season despite enduring far more than their far share of injuries. They’ve been forced to rely heavily on call ups from the AHL Grand Rapids Griffins and some of those players have become the reason the streak is still alive.

It’s further justification of Red Wings GM Ken Holland’s philosophy of waiting until a player can firmly establish themselves in the minors before calling them up.

“Leading the Grand Rapids Griffins last year was (Tomas) Tatar, (Gustav) Nyquist, Riley Sheahan and Luke Glendening so when they got their call they didn’t come up here wondering if they could play they had done it at another level so the next step for them was to go to the NHL,” Holland told the Macomb Daily.

“Now can you do it? I don’t know, but that time in the minors prepares them to be the best that they can be.”

Constantly winning means that Detroit rarely has high draft picks, but much of their talent is nevertheless homegrown. Three of the four players Holland mentioned were Red wings’ draft picks, while Luke Glendening was never drafted and had to climb his way up the ranks after his four-year tenure at the University of Michigan.

Detroit’s injury situation isn’t quite as dire as it once was, but the Red Wings will still be missing Henrik Zetterberg and Jonathan Ericsson when the playoffs start. That will contribute to the youngsters that got them this far getting a chance to play in the first round.

If nothing else, that would allow their development to continue by giving them a taste of what it’s like to play in NHL postseason games. That’s something the Red Wings hope they’ll get used to as they aim to extend their playoff appearance streak indefinitely.

  1. pastabelly - Apr 11, 2014 at 9:46 AM

    I think the Bruins will handle Detroit in the first round, but it won’t be easy. Pittsburgh actually lucked out in getting Columbus in the first round, while the Bs get Detroit. That could change, but I’m not counting on it.

    • mshantz22 - Apr 11, 2014 at 10:07 AM

      The Wings beat the Bruins in the season series 3-1, so if they get some decent goaltending from Howard, I think they could beat the bruins in 6.

    • 11111111111a22 - Apr 11, 2014 at 10:48 AM

      The regular season isn’t over.

    • pwshrugged - Apr 11, 2014 at 12:30 PM

      Nothing’s decided yet, fella.

      Detroit had a day off yesterday, whereas Carolina played at home. Carolina finishes a back-to-back in Detroit tonight, after an off-night for the Wings. Detroit gets another day off before playing St. Louis.

      Columbus, meanwhile, plays a back-to-back tonight and tomorrow, with both games on the road.

      Could easily go either way.

  2. redwingsfan101 - Apr 11, 2014 at 12:05 PM

    If the blue jackets lose one of there games and the wings win both of there’s we’re in seventh

  3. redwingsfan101 - Apr 11, 2014 at 12:06 PM

    We’re being the wings

  4. slysipops - Apr 11, 2014 at 12:20 PM

    the WINGS have an excellant coach. they are a dangerous team for any opponent. look at the problems they gave the HAWKS in last years SCP . the BLACKHAWKS looked like a totally unstoppbale team ,but the WINGS almost did take them out. they were the scariest opponent in last years playoffs!

    • shoobiedoobin - Apr 11, 2014 at 5:13 PM

      They should’ve won, too. A combination of injuries and horrid officiating killed Detroit. After Toews’ little tantrum, which we all choose to forget happened, they let them get away with murder.

  5. rbbbaron - Apr 11, 2014 at 12:30 PM

    Forget the pre-cap era and just look at the last few seasons. If you take Babcock’s “what have you done for me lately?” approach, then Holland gets way more credit than he deserves. The guy forced Babcock to bury Nyquist and some of the other GR guys who had already proven themselves at the NHL level last season, and then for Holland to lament how they were dealing with too many forwards…(hmmm, who could be responsible for that???). The young call-ups did a damn good job down the stretch and into the playoffs last season, and then Holland goes into the offseason and lets Filppula walk so he can sign Alfredsson, who at his cap-hit was an ok (but certainy not great) pickup, and hands a monumentally stupid contract to Weiss. This while the Wings’ blueline is, and has been for a few seasons now, shaky and in desperate need of a right-handed shot (hence the need for Alfie, a temporary and far from ideal solution to the problem).
    Unfortunately we won’t be able to see the counter-factual, but if all the players had remained healthy and Babcock would be forced to ice the roster that Holland has handed him for this season, i.e. if Tootoo, Bert, Sammy, Cleary, Weiss and the others who can’t get it done would crowd out all the young talent, this team isn’t in the playoffs (yeah Zetterberg is good, but he can’t nearly make up the difference between how good the kids are in place of those bums that Holland (re)signed in the last couple seasons). Those kids, under Babcock’s adept coaching, have helped people ignore just how poorly Holland’s management has actually been the last few seasons; Holland pretty much owes them his reputation at this point.

  6. pwshrugged - Apr 11, 2014 at 12:32 PM

    Holland develops prospects consistently well, but this story of this year should be Mike Babcock. He’s never completely gotten his due, but I think this year he’s really made his mark. He turned these kids into a team, turned the future into the present, all without skipping a beat, all with the weight of the playoff streak on their shoulders.

    Say what you want about Roy and any other deserving Adams candidate, none of them did what Babcock did this year. This year is about Babcock; it’s taken nine years, but these are wholly his Red Wings now, and he’s doing incredible things with them.

  7. mastodonry - Apr 11, 2014 at 12:54 PM

    Yes it highlights his decisions to send Gus Nyquist to the AHL while signing DAN FREAKING CLEARY to a deal to suck in the NHL.
    How many more Clearys, Tootoos, Samuelssons and Weiss’ will he sign before he lets Mantha come up and own?

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