Ken Holland was named as the best GM of the past decade by Puck Daddy's Greg Wyshynski with his post on Saturday. Here's a quick little excerpt from the post:
Winning the Cup with this roster in the bloated payroll days of 2002 and with this roster in the spend-thrift days of 2008 is nothing short of remarkable. Not only in the sense of fiscal management, but in the sense of talent augmentation: The Red Wings lost a Hall of Fame's-worth of talent after that first Cup of the decade, yet won eight consecutive division titles and made the postseason every year of the 2000s.
Which is dead on. No other team--with the exception of the New Jersey Devils and their GM Lou Lamoriello, number 2 on the list--have been able to keep the consistent success that the Red Wings have had. Many figured that the salary cap era was going to be the downfall of the Red Wings yet the team has made two Stanley Cup appearances and won one in that time. Holland sets the marker pretty high for other GMs to reach and finds creative ways to keep the nucleus of this team together while replacing pretty much any departure with talent that is just a s good or has the potential to be better. I'd be willing to bet that there are maybe only two or three teams that have as many players on their roster from 2001-2002 that the Red Wings do now.
This year could be the best indication of Holland's abilities. The team is riddled with injuries to some major players but he has made no moves for players from the outside (with the exception of Drew Miller) and has called up the talent that he drafted instead of pressing the panic button. We won't be able to tell for sure until towards the end of the year how good this team really is with its full arsenal of players. But the fact that the Red Wings are still competing in the ever improving Central Division with the injuries this team has faced--while trying out a rookie goalie in net--is testament to Holland's mentality of steadfastness in the front office. Holland said something to the effect the other night that if you trade your prospects away now, you're just going to be in the same boat two years from now which is exactly true.
I am starting to agree that staying the course, although maybe ugly in the present, is in the best interest of the club down the line. With the magic that Ken Holland has worked in the past, I'm willing to trust nearly any move he makes.