Ansar Khan of MLive is reporting that both Ken Holland and Jeff Blashill will be returning to Detroit next year.
But ownership has decided Holland, the GM since 1997, should head the rebuilding job the franchise faces after missing the postseason two years in a row, following a 25-season playoff streak.
It is unclear whether an official announcement will be made before the end of the season, but some clarity was expected before the team gathers for photo and locker cleanout day, shortly after the season finale on April 7.
Hold on, excuse me for a moment.
OK, I’m back. I just had to get something out of my system.
This news doesn’t come out of nowhere. Our writer Mike Bremer wrote about this last week because of a Craig Custance article that indicated this possibility was becoming more and more likely.
It’s also not completely official yet, but Detroit Free Press is also reporting the same news.
This might come as a bit of a shock to readers, but I’m not happy with this.
To be honest, I don’t really care one way or the other about Blashill. He has one more year on his contract, and while I don’t agree with some of the moves he makes, I’m not getting upset about him staying another year. I don’t think he’s going to be here beyond that. There’s certainly a case to be made that this is a mistake, but I want to focus on the Holland part of this news.
The one thing that would make me upset about keeping Blashill is if high-quality coaches become available, and we stay with Blashill rather than bringing one of them on board. For example, the opportunity cost of not adding someone like a Joel Quenneville if Chicago fires him would make this decision a big mistake.
The difficult thing with analyzing something like that scenario is that we don’t know what happens behind the scenes. For example, let’s say Quenneville does get fired. He may not have any interest in coming to Detroit. But we’d likely never know that for certain.
To me, the decision to bring back Holland is worse.
In the article I linked to above, Mike laid out some reasons to potentially believe that this may not be an awful decision.
I hope I am wrong about this, but I see no reason why the person who signed the contracts that have put the Red Wings in the position they are currently in should continue to make those decisions.
This is not to say that Holland has not done some good things in the last two seasons. I’ve said here that the Tatar contract was a very good one. I also said that he has done pretty much what I hoped for at the last two trade deadlines. The Mike Green surgery lends credence to the idea that his hands were tied when it came to trading Green at the deadline. He’s acquired a plethora of good draft picks for the upcoming draft.
But again, I come back to the fact that the contracts that Holland signed have put the team in their current position.
With his contract expiring and the team seemingly to finally admit that a rebuild (whatever they want to call it) is necessary, this was the perfect time to move in a new direction.
While discussions about Holland’s potential replacement often focused on internal candidates like Ryan Martin or Kris Draper, there were other options for the team to look outside its own walls. For the record, while it doesn’t matter anymore, this was my preference.
Kyle Dubas, the Assistant GM for the Maple Leafs, would have been high on my list of potential replacements. The Toronto management team’s future is currently unknown, as nobody seems to know what GM Lou Lamoriello will do after this season. Dubas may be next in line there, so he might not even be available.
Other assistant GMs would have also provided some compelling options. Paul Fenton (Nashville), Julien BriseBois (Tampa Bay), and Mike Futa (Los Angeles) look to be in position to make the jump to a general manager position.
This is one of the few times that I want to be wrong. If Holland is going to be here, I want him to do a good job.
But while some may point to the adage that the grass is always greener on the other side, I am disappointed to not get the chance to find out.