A few weeks back I said that the Oilers are, with a lot of work, fixable. Having Connor McDavid makes it impossible not to be. I mentioned that a change in structure was needed to move the organisation forward. If the Oilers stopped hiring guys who played on the team in the 1980s maybe we would see them move towards modern decisions.
Well, Ken Holland never did play for the Oilers. So at least they’re trying.
Here’s the issue though, Peter Chiarelli never did either. However their visions for the game seem to align with those 1980s “hockey men”.
We’ve already got our lovely Edmonton “unbiased journalists” praising the move. Which was to be completely expected. They praise his legacy in Detroit and point to his cups to prove his value.
What they are missing is that is exactly what they missed about the other 10 guys who’ve been in upper management there that have failed miserably.
Hockey has changed, and anything you’ve done before the salary cap era means nothing in today’s game.
When Ken Holland lost his ability to spend above everyone else, when other teams invested in scouting, and after he lost Lidstrom, well his teams didn’t look too god. He could no longer get away with selecting Zetterbergs in the 7th round, or finding Pavel Datsyuk in an unexplored part of Russian hockey. This left the cupboard a lot emptier than it had been before 2010.
His team then not only suffered through lack of talent, but immensely lucrative deals he gave to *below* average players. This leaves no room for new, young and talented players.They have zero dollars in cap space available, and were unable to make the playoffs. Sound familiar?
Aside from the Dylan Larkin contract there are some GLARING issues here.
DeKeyser, Abdelkader, Helm, Nielsen and company are below average players who have LONG TERM deals with clauses preventing their moves. If I’m an Oilers fan, I look at this cap and think of how similar it is to my own team’s. Which for the record is VERY bad.
So what all this means is: Bob Nicholson hired another Team Canada friend who has not earned this job, and we are back to hockey not evolving and the Oilers still sucking. Classic NHL.
Ken Holland was hired strictly because he is Ken Holland. He was not interviewed for the job. He did not lay out a plan to fix this sinking ship. He was given a huge cheque just because he stumbled into an organisation 30 years ago that once had more money to spend than almost every other team. Nothing in the last decade leads to some semblance of adaptation to the modern game.
This is not how you fix the Oilers.
If Ken Holland decides to act like someone that isn’t Ken Holland this may not completely backfire.
Someone please save Connor McDavid, he’s in for a lot of pain.