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Wings GM Holland gets new four-year contract

Aug 14, 2014, 11:57 AM EDT

Colorado Avalanche v Detroit Red Wings Getty Images

The Detroit Red Wings have given general manager Ken Holland a new four-year contract that runs through the 2017-18 season.

“Ken is regarded as one of the premier executives in the National Hockey League and has been instrumental in the success of the Red Wings over the last two decades,” Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch said in a statement. “Marian and I are extremely pleased that he will continue to lead our hockey club over the next four years. We feel strongly that stability is key to the success of any organization and having this new agreement in place with Ken is important to the organization and its future.”

Holland, meanwhile, told the Detroit Free Press that it’s “nice to know that ownership has confidence in me to continue to lead going forward.”

He also told the paper he plans to “sit down and talk” in September with head coach Mike Babcock, who’s entering the final year of his contract and has not said decisively whether he plans to remain in the position past 2014-15.

Holland became the Red Wings’ general manager in 1997 and has since become one of the most respected executives in NHL history. Detroit has yet to miss the playoffs since he took the job, and the club continues to draft and develop prospects well.

That said, Holland has faced increasing criticism over the past few seasons, as the Wings have failed to make a deep playoff run and high-profile free agents have either chosen to sign elsewhere or, in the case of Stephen Weiss, disappointed. So far this offseason, Holland has failed to land a top-four, right-shooting defenseman, something that Babcock has been pushing for.

  1. 19to77 - Aug 14, 2014 at 12:00 PM

    My condolences to Wings fans everywhere.

    • stepanup - Aug 14, 2014 at 12:33 PM

      Ironic given the resume and kids like Gustav, Tatar, Sheahan, Jurco all coming on strong.

    • pjblake2redwings - Aug 14, 2014 at 1:11 PM

      Yea its really rough here making the playoffs every year with a playoff streak longer than 12 teams have even been existed.

    • polegojim - Aug 15, 2014 at 9:56 AM

      No condolences wanted or required. Holland has done an excellent job at Detroit.

      Name an NHL GM who’s done an overall better job year in and year out???

  2. redwings4013 - Aug 14, 2014 at 12:06 PM

    Why…why would we keep him yes he’s not a bad gm but he should not be our gm he hasn’t made good trades for us to be a contending team. He’s not giving long term deals to young players who deserve them (Tatar only 3 years) and dekeyser is not gonna get any more then 4 I don’t think. We should have hired a new GM and now I doubt the best coach in the league in Mike Babcock will stay I will be happily surprised if he does

    • pjblake2redwings - Aug 14, 2014 at 1:13 PM

      I 100% agree with you in the fact that this contract just made Babcock leave after his contract is up. There is no way Babs stays longer to have Holland run the show

    • cheliostwin - Aug 14, 2014 at 1:29 PM

      For Tatar and DeKeyser to get longer deals, they would insist on more money for the later years in the deal, when they would presumably be in their prime. The way the salary cap works, the yearly average gets applied to every year in the contract. the Wings don’t have the cap space this year and the next to accomodate the amounts that Tatar and DeKeyser would want. That is why Holland is going for 2 and 3 year deals for these young players, to keep the cap hit low enough. When they have produced for the next couple of years, they can be extended, for longer terms, and higher amounts. Holland knows what he is doing, at least in these two cases. Cleary and Quincey, I grant you, were puzzling moves, which I hope work out well for the team.

    • adamal17 - Aug 14, 2014 at 1:32 PM

      Why keep him? He’s built the best prospect pool in all of the NHL. He has the respect of every GM in hockey (Even Joe Sakic in CO). The deals he signs internally are nothing short of amazing (short of Cleary…which was a printed promise…he’d of looked horrible to to FA’s). Babcock loves working with him…both nationally and in the NHL. I think Babs has been weary of committing to anything because Holland also had only one year left. They work well together and Babs knows there are two highly regarded RH D man that will be in a Wings Uniform within two years…that are offensive D men. He made a couple iffy moves this year; but you can’t hold a gun to a players head and make him sign…there’s a salary cap that prevents that.

      • elrock7 - Aug 14, 2014 at 7:46 PM

        Come on dude! They have a few good prospects but you are way out there if you honestly think they have the best prospect pool in the league.

      • adamal17 - Aug 14, 2014 at 8:23 PM

        That’s not my opinion…it’s a fact as voted on by all GM’s around the league and by central scouting from around the league as well. The Wings and Bolts have been 1 and 2 for two years…and it’s expected to roll over in to this year. And the Wings have been in the top four of the annual prospects tournament over the past three years as well.

      • adamal17 - Aug 15, 2014 at 11:47 AM

        Take a look…Wings were third on this after Buffalo traded away (everyone) last year at the trade deadline. You can go back three years if you want to see for yourself. Last year Wings were #1, Bolts were #2…it was just inverted in 2011/12 as well.

    • flowerdew - Aug 15, 2014 at 8:53 PM

      He offered Tatar three separate deals – a 2 year, a 3 year and a 5 year deal. Tatar chose the 3 year deal. He’ll still be an RFA when it expires, and probably thinks he can get a better longterm deal then. If DDK doesn’t sign for more than 4 years, DDK not wanting to sign for more than 4 years will be a big part of the reason why.

  3. sjsblitz - Aug 14, 2014 at 12:08 PM

    4 more years of Cleary next lol

    • 19to77 - Aug 14, 2014 at 1:21 PM

      Didn’t you hear? He celebrated the news by signing Cleary for 8 more years with a no-trade clause.

      • adamal17 - Aug 14, 2014 at 8:13 PM

        I don’t like the Cleary signing as much as the next guy…but it’s hard to criticize a guy for holding true to his word and having some you know…integrity. Unless Cleary turns in a banner year this will be his last on a one way contract with the wings. It’s time to give the guy a rest for keeping his word.

    • polegojim - Aug 15, 2014 at 9:57 AM

      4 more years of playoff appearances… didn’t you hear?

  4. alicesrightfootesq - Aug 14, 2014 at 12:10 PM

    You can’t blame him for not signing big UFAs. If they prefer to be somewhere else, no amount of convincing is going to matter.

    • khearn101 - Aug 14, 2014 at 12:23 PM

      It’s not the fact that free agents have gone elsewhere. It’s giving roster spots to below average veterans instead of letting the young guys play, it’s trading first round picks and top prospects for mediocre players, it’s his new obsession with making the playoffs instead of building a championship team. I can’t think of 1 quality move he’s made in over 5 years.

      • polegojim - Aug 15, 2014 at 10:00 AM

        OK HEARN… name all of these young guys who are NHL ready and not getting a chance to play???

        Babcock makes the cell on who’s ready and who’s not, not a GM!!!

      • khearn101 - Aug 15, 2014 at 6:14 PM

        Ok POLE!!!! The only reason any rookie played last year were because of injury. The head coach has nothing to do with signing players or assigning them to different leagues. This link is the Red Wings official job description of Ken Holland:

      • polegojim - Aug 16, 2014 at 12:40 AM

        Wow… you totally missed the point.

        Babs make THAT call… not Holland.

  5. jpelle82 - Aug 14, 2014 at 12:17 PM

    its gonna get real bad for him when crawford leaves, you think it was hard to get ufa’s before….

    • dueman - Aug 14, 2014 at 12:33 PM


    • jpelle82 - Aug 14, 2014 at 1:50 PM

      babcock…brain fart

      • goodluckking - Aug 14, 2014 at 2:03 PM

        Funny. As other people keep blaming Babcock’s coaching style as a reason players won’t come to the wings.

  6. rbbbaron - Aug 14, 2014 at 12:40 PM

    It was a good run, Babcock…

  7. 11111111111a22 - Aug 14, 2014 at 12:48 PM

    First of all, Crawford??? So confused…

    Second of all, sometimes the best move is not making one at all. Sure, they’d love to have a RH d-man but obviously it didn’t work in FA so the next question is “at what price”. It’s easy to criticize but perhaps we should all take a step back and understand that there is no tree on which sought after players hang waiting to be plucked.

  8. adamal17 - Aug 14, 2014 at 1:23 PM

    Everyone needs to step back and realize one thing before scolding this move. We are in the cap era, and your development (not signing “unknown” free agents) is what makes a competitor. The Wings, along with the Bolts have had the best prospect pool for the past three years…and will again this year. Almost every GM in the league has a connection to Holland at one point or another and RESPECT him as one of the best…that’s not something you get by accident. Not signing free agents has been his downfall, yes. But we had almost 400 man games lost to most of our top players last year and didn’t skip a beat. Look at the prospect pool for D men. The Wings have three of the top ten in that area; and two of them happen to shoot from the right side. Quincey on a 2 year deal isn’t that bad when you consider the guys that could be coming up. The Wings only have three or four players on the team that weren’t drafted by the team…take a step back and take that in…FOUR PLAYERS AND THEY HAVEN”T MISSED THE PLAYOFFS. Babcock likes it here and I expect a deal for him in the next month. Babs doesn’t want a cupcake team to take to the finals like the 02 wings were. He wants to coach and show he deserves what everyone calls him, the best coach in hockey. Babcock and Holland work well together, I hope and don’t think he’s going anywhere. This is a great move. Like the best owner in all of sports said; stability is the way to build a great program. Nill is doing great in Dallas but look what he’s doing…spending a lot of money on Free Agents and giving away decent amounts in trades. He’s a great GM as well but doesn’t have the prospects like Detroit does. This is GREAT news and will be great for the Wings organization. Aside from the Cleary promise (Holland kind of tied his hands there) there hasn’t been a questionable move this summer. Thank you, Mike Ilitch, thank you, Ken Holland. The Wings are in good hands.

    • elrock7 - Aug 14, 2014 at 9:44 PM

      Yeah sure the wings are in good hands. Holland could have went and got the right-handed dman Babcock practically begged for, but didn’t. Only off season move is to re-up cleary.

      Coach and gm not on same page, and if it wasn’t for Toronto losing 12 of final 15, Wings would have missed playoffs last year.

      I would say there could be some gloomy times ahead.

      • polegojim - Aug 15, 2014 at 10:04 AM

        Seriously ELROCK? That’s called HOCKEY… if it was’t for the Wings winning games they needed to at the end of the season… they would have missed the playoffs.

        If you mean the Red Wings could miss a couple seasons of playoffs after 23 straight years… that’s not ‘gloomy’… that’s reality. What other NHL team wouldn’t take that?

      • elrock7 - Aug 15, 2014 at 7:48 PM

        polegojim, none cares about what happened 3 yrs ago, nevermind 23. My point is Wings are heading for leaner years that’s all, and just my opinion.

  9. hockeyflow33 - Aug 14, 2014 at 1:45 PM

    How many contending teams sign multiple big name free agents?

  10. dencar2014 - Aug 14, 2014 at 2:21 PM

    I wish I could share the enthusiasm of some others with the re-sign of Holland but somehow I just can’t when I think of the re-sign of Cleary and Quincey along with the likes of Tootoo,Samuelson ,Legwand , letting Hudler walk, essentially trading Filpulla for Weiss and on it goes. I was hoping that ownership would have concluded that Holland’s best before date has expired and that a change was in order. If Detroit is having problems signing quality free agents, some soul searching might be in order.I don’t hear or see that happening. There seems to be a contentment with just keeping the play off streak going . The Cleary thing was the final straw for me when it was all about “loyalty” and had nothing to do with performance or merit . Looks like Jurco gets to go to G.R. To make room for Babs fav Clears!!!

    • adamal17 - Aug 14, 2014 at 4:12 PM

      Everything is easy to criticize in hindsight. I know that most of Red Wings nation was happy with the “trade” of Fil for Weiss when it happened. I’m still happy with letting Hudler walk with what Calgary is paying him as well. If we didn’t trade for Legwand we would have missed the playoffs…we traded a prospect that who knows what will happen with…time will tell. Samuelson had a couple great years before we brought him back and spent most the time injured…and Babcock didn’t like Tootoo. It’s very easy to sit back and play armchair GM once the year is over and hate the moves made…But when you sit back and realize that NO ONE could have predicted losing 400 man games….most of which from your best players. I’d say he’s actually doing a pretty good job with how great our prospects are, still not missing the playoffs and going in to this year looking very healthy and younger than ever. The Cleary move hurts…yes. But did you predict him getting hurt and being useless last year? Hindsight…again. But Holland made a printed promise…it’s difficult to not follow through when every other player in the league is eyeing you.

      • rbbbaron - Aug 15, 2014 at 2:55 AM

        “If we didn’t trade for Legwand we would have missed the playoffs”

        The fool persists in his folly

  11. dencar2014 - Aug 14, 2014 at 4:47 PM

    I realize that the benefit of hindsight is 20/20 but looking at Holland’s recent moves points to numerous mis-steps. To have given Cleary such a written guarantee was foolish to say the least and brings judgement into question. To have re-signed Cleary just doubled down on a promise that never should have been made. Legwand was given too much credit for Detroit making the play-offs and used as a justification by Holland et al for the assets given up for a very short term rental.

    • adamal17 - Aug 14, 2014 at 7:39 PM

      plain and simple if we wouldn’t have brought Legwand on we would have missed the playoffs. We had one center on the entire team…and that would have gone on for another 20 games. He was the difference. If you deny that then you may want to get your eyes checked. Wings limped in at #8; it’s not like we were 6 or even 7. Give Cleary credit…he used Philly as a pawn, and got us to commit at the last minute. As a GM your word is everything, go back on that and you lose respect from the entire league. The Cleary move WILL cost this team a couple of prospects who deserve better…but that’s the cost of doing business; who knows, he could end up turning in a respectable year (as he has most years as a Wing)…there’s that hindsight thing again.

      • rbbbaron - Aug 15, 2014 at 3:02 AM

        “plain and simple if we wouldn’t have brought Legwand on we would have missed the playoffs. We had one center on the entire team…”

        Holy $#!&. You do realize that the Wings’ active roster at that time had a number of natural centers in tow and centers up the ace in GR that could’ve stepped in, right? You do know that LEGWAND’S ADVANCED STATS WHILE PLAYING WITH THE WINGS WERE WORSE THAN EAVES’, right?
        Get your head checked.

      • pjblake2redwings - Aug 15, 2014 at 11:11 AM

        you do realize that legwand was playing wing on the 4th line the majority of his time in detroit lol idiots

  12. shaundre93 - Aug 14, 2014 at 5:38 PM

    Apparently there’s a lot of arm chair GM’s here who think its no problem to build a perennial contender. I don’t get it. The only move this team had made that made me scratch my head was the Filppula Weiss swap. And, like someone mentioned, most were happy with that decision at the time.

    Mantha Nyquist Jurco Tatar Shehan Helm

    Dekeyser Smith Sproul Oullete

    Those are building blocks for a future cup caliber team. But wait, they also have arguably the best forward duo in the league!? And one of the hardest hitting most reliable top two D in the game!? Jeez, you guys are right. This Holland guy hasn’t got a clue…

    • adamal17 - Aug 14, 2014 at 6:52 PM

      At least someone here has a clue…I have no huge issue missing out on top FA’s (And if I recall, Weiss and Alfie were considered high end top FA’s last year) when we have the best drafting and prospects in the league. Only four players on the team weren’t drafted by the wings…And that includes Cleary and Miller (who were basically developed or saved by the wings). Apparently everyone thinks that you have to be Brian Burke and build a Leafs team through Free Agency and never make the playoffs…

    • polegojim - Aug 15, 2014 at 10:08 AM

      Amen on that SHAUNDRE and ADMAL – too many short term vision posters on this one.

  13. dencar2014 - Aug 14, 2014 at 8:09 PM

    The point is Holland should NEVER had made such a promise to Cleary in the first place!!! If as promised, Cleary costs the team a couple of players no big deal – the price of doing business. Unless he’s the second coming of Lazarus, that should make him REAL popular with the fan base.

    • adamal17 - Aug 14, 2014 at 8:19 PM

      Motivation to prove everyone wrong…and I mean everyone. I don’t like the signing at all. But at the time, last year, you sort of couldn’t blame them. Outside of Nyquist no one thought those kids were going to be near half as good as they turned out to be in their rookie campaign…and no one thought we’d lose 396 man games. I’m sure if the Ilitches thought you’d do a better job they would have offered you the contract. Thank God they have Holland and not your lazy boy approach. I hope you’re flexible and don’t have big feet…because your foot will be in your mouth by this time next year. There’s a reason why most wings fans donned the phrase “In Kenny We Trust” up until July 1st 2014.

  14. dencar2014 - Aug 14, 2014 at 8:33 PM

    Listen, at the end of the day, I’m a hardcore Wing fan (have been since the 50’s) so I’ve seen the whole gamut. I sincerely hope I’m wrong about Cleary and he isn’t given any special consideration to make the team at the expense of a prospect because if that happens the fans will be on him something terrible.

  15. dencar2014 - Aug 15, 2014 at 2:32 PM

    The rationalization that the Wings would not have made the play-offs without Legwand is utter nonsense!!!!!!!

    • adamal17 - Aug 15, 2014 at 9:51 PM

      If you think that a current (non injured) winger or center would have been better…then that’s nonsense; mainly because there wasn’t one. If you think that a Griffins player would have been better then that’s nonsense. There’s a reason they’re in the AHL. Eaves couldn’t win faceoffs and has been a liability due to his concussion past. Losing the prospect that we didn’t know how he’d turn out is somewhat bad…but if we didn’t do it then EVERYONE would have been on Holland for not making a needed trade at the deadline. Any player/rental you get at the trade deadline you will over pay for…that’s just common knowledge in the NHL.

  16. dencar2014 - Aug 16, 2014 at 8:48 AM

    I honestly believe that Holland doesn’t make too many moves without a nod from Babs. Just think Cleary a year ago.

  17. 13whitebread - Aug 20, 2014 at 12:25 PM

    I think wings have to start bringing up the talent like Mantha and give him a month see what he can do. We need a lot of things especially health but news more scoring Dats and Zet cannot score every night

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