The Edmonton Oilers lost a potential GM candidate today when the Vegas Golden Knights promoted Kelly McCrimmon in an effort to keep him with the franchise. It was no secret that the team was hoping McCrimmon would become available, but will have to turn their search in a different direction now. Immediately, the Golden Knights’ announcement made people wonder if former Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland would appear at the top of the Edmonton short list once again, or perhaps even be recruited by the expansion Seattle franchise which had also shown interest in McCrimmon.
Holland recently left the Red Wings position in order to bring Steve Yzerman back into the organization, but signed a multi-year extension in order to stay on in a senior position. That means there isn’t any rush for Holland to find another job, and he is apparently going to take some of that time. Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic tweets that Holland is “currently taking stock of what lies ahead for him” but that the jobs in Edmonton and Seattle are still possibilities. For what it’s worth, Ryan Rishaug of TSN believes that the Edmonton situation is essentially a “two horse race” between Keith Gretzky and Mark Hunter.
There is obviously good reason to believe Holland would be open to another front office role with increased responsibility. While he admitted that he allowed Yzerman to come back to Detroit in order to help the franchise, a 62-year old Holland had signed a two-year extension with the Red Wings just over a year ago, expecting to be leading the rebuild. That rebuild has gone quite well, despite the Red Wings’ struggles on the ice the last few seasons. The team has started to shed their long expensive contracts and has a better prospect pool than they have had in years. Detroit will also pick four times in the first two rounds this June, and ten times overall unless Yzerman makes an additional move.
Holland commands quite a bit of respect around the league, and if LeBrun is correct that he will “want to probably resurface at some point” there undoubtedly will be organizations willing to offer him the GM role. We’ll have to wait and see if that time comes this summer or down the road, but nothing seems imminent at this point.