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Red Wings Officially Bring Back Ken Holland as GM With a Two Year Extension

On Saturday, Detroit officially announced Ken Holland was returning as general manager of the Red Wings.

NHL Centennial 100 Celebration Photo by Francois Laplante/FreestylePhoto/Getty Images

At a press conference on Saturday, the Detroit Red Wings made it official: Ken Holland will return as general manager.

The team announced a two-year extension on his contract, which was due to expire at the end of this season.

This move had heavily implied over the last several weeks, so it doesn’t really come as a surprise.

Here at this site we’ve had two major articles looking at the pros and cons of this decision.

Chris Ilitch has decided that Ken Holland is the person to lead the team’s rebuild. Time will tell if that was the right decision, but Red Wings fans, regardless of their current feelings, hope it will be.

Here is the team’s press release:


… NHL’s Second-Longest Tenured General Manager Returns for 22nd Season …

DETROIT – Detroit Red Wings Governor Christopher Ilitch today announced that executive vice president and general manager Ken Holland has been signed to a two-year contract extension.

Currently the second-longest tenured general manager in the National Hockey League, Holland has won three Stanley Cups (1998, 2002, 2008) as Red Wings general manager and was Detroit’s assistant general manager for a fourth championship in 1997. Under his watch, the Red Wings have won four Presidents’ Trophies, captured 10 division championships, won five regular-season conference titles and reached at least 100 regular-season points a league-high 13 times in the last 17 seasons. The Red Wings have also won 893 regular-season games and 119 playoff games since Holland assumed general manager duties in July 1997, topping the NHL in both categories during that span.

The Red Wings also made the playoffs in each of Holland’s first 19 seasons at the helm, comprising the majority of a run of 25-straight seasons in which the team qualified for the postseason from 1990-2016 – the third-longest streak in NHL history. With a focus on developing a consistently competitive franchise through scouting, drafting and developing from within, Holland led a staff that selected 10 players at the 2017 NHL Entry Draft and currently holds an NHL-high 11 selections for the upcoming 2018 NHL Entry Draft, including up to seven over the first three rounds. Additionally, the Red Wings currently hold 10 picks for the 2019 NHL Entry Draft.

“Ken Holland is a highly accomplished and well-respected general manager who played an integral role in bringing four Stanley Cup championships to Detroit,” said Ilitch. “Ken has a passion for scouting and is an astute talent evaluator. He has done a tremendous job over the last few seasons acquiring high draft picks and creating a tremendous opportunity to supplement our current roster and core of young players with additional high-end prospects. He has my support and that of our owner, Marian Ilitch, and we are completely aligned on our strategy for building a Stanley Cup contender.”

Holland, 62, is currently in his 35th season overall with the Red Wings. After concluding his playing career in 1985, the last two seasons of which were spent in Detroit’s organization as a goaltender, Holland began working for the Red Wings as a western Canada scout (1985-89), followed by five seasons as the team’s director of amateur scouting (1989-94) and three years as assistant general manager (1994-97).

During his time as a scout, including in his role as the director of amateur scouting, Holland was involved in or oversaw the drafts that netted Red Wings mainstays including Nicklas Lidstrom, Sergei Fedorov, Vladimir Konstantinov, Slava Kozlov, Darren McCarty and Chris Osgood, who all played integral roles on Detroit’s championship teams over the next two decades. As general manager, Holland signed homegrown talent such as Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Niklas Kronwall and Johan Franzen to long-term contracts to help sustain the Red Wings’ success and winning culture. Over the past several seasons, the Red Wings have welcomed a new wave of young talent assembled through recent drafts to take on larger roles with the team, including Dylan Larkin and Anthony Mantha, who lead the team in points and goals, respectively, as well as Andreas Athanasiou and rookies Tyler Bertuzzi and Martin Frk, who each earned full-time roles with the team after helping the American Hockey League’s Grand Rapids Griffins capture their second Calder Cup championship in five seasons in 2017.

Holland, who was named the NHL’s GM of the Decade (2000-09) by, also has extensive experience working with Hockey Canada, including two stints as an associate director at the Winter Olympic Games in 2010 (Vancouver) and 2014 (Sochi), where Canada won back-to-back gold medals.