Updated 5x at 7:47 PM: Per the Red Wings…
#RedWings Governor Christopher Ilitch announces that executive vice president and general manager Ken Holland has been signed to a two-year contract extension.
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) April 7, 2018
From the Free Press’s Helene St. James…
Chris Ilitch says general manager Ken Holland has been extended for two years.
Ken Holland: “I love working for the Ilitch family, I think they are greatest owners in NHL … Feel very fortunate to be back. Look forward to challenge of rebuilding Red Wings to compete … for Stanley Cup.”
Ken Holland said he’ll address coach Jeff Blashill’s future on Tuesday at clean-out day. Blashill has year left on contract.
Chris Ilitch: “Ken has been integral part of 4 Stanley Cup championships… He started out as a scout. Many of the players he scouted became integral to our success. .. He is tremendous evaluator of talent at our core.”
Chris Ilitch on why Holland stays to rebuild Wings: “When I fly in an airplane, I love doing it with a pilot who has done it before … Ken has done it before.”
Chris Ilitch: “We are going to be as aggressive as possible in building a team that can … compete for Stanley Cup.”
Fox 2’s Jennifer Hammond…
Ilitch announces that Holland’s contract has been extended for two years.
Ilitch adds: We remain laser focused on one objective…building a Red Wings team that remains focused on competing for Championships.
Holland says he’ll answer all questions about the team on Tuesday when they take the team picture – including the future of Jeff Blashill.
Ilitch on why he thinks Holland is the man for the job: Ken is an integral part of the Wings four Cup Championships and it started with his scouting.
As Ilitch points out, the Wings have the most picks of any team in the 2018 NHL Draft. Hopefully the chips fall their way to bring Swedish defenseman Rasmus Dahlin to Detroit.
The Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan…
Ken Holland to return next season
The Detroit News’s Gregg Krupa…
chris ilitch say mom, marian, likes decision. touts draft choices and say laser focus is on winning. “confident he is the right person, again.”
holland: i feel very fortunate to be working with passionate owners. i feel fortunate to be back. i know we have a hard task ahead.
chris ilitch: frequent conversations among himself, mrs. I and holland all throughout the season, and as a matter of routine, every season. included some discussion of his status, but no perceived urgency in announcing. no reason for late-season announcement, other than that.
holland: blashill announcement tuesday.
asked about timing of the turnaround and e.t.a. of next winner… c. ilitch: we will work as aggressively as possible. holland is aggressive in his pursuit. gone a terrific job of amassing draft choices. i believe the future of the franchise is very bright.
MLive’s Ansar Khan:
# announce Ken Holland has signed 2 year extension.
Holland said he will address coach Jeff Blashill’s future Tuesday at locker clean out. Blashill is expected to return. #
And WDIV’s Jamie Edmonds:
Illitch: We are completely aligned on the strategy to get the team back to becoming Stanley Cup Champions. Ken has the skill and experience to lead us in that process.
— Jamie Edmonds (@Jamie_Edmonds) April 7, 2018
Holland: you have to honor contracts, there’s a salary cap. Slowly the veterans will be replaced by younger guys, but they must be ready.
WXYZ’s Mike Foss also weighed in:
Chris Ilitch: “(Ken and I) just sort of settled on two years, and that’s what we were comfortable with.”
As did DetroitRedWings.com’s Dana Wakiji:
#RedWings Chris Ilitch: We are pleased with the progress. We believe Ken is the right person to lead this process and we’re thrilled to have him back.
— Dana Wakiji (@Dwakiji) April 7, 2018
Here’s the press release:
RED WINGS EXTEND EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT AND GENERAL MANAGER KEN HOLLAND FOR TWO YEARS
… 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 SportsIllustrated.com, 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.
Update: Here’s FSD’s video of the announcement:
Ken Holland will return as executive vice-president/general manager of the Red Wings for two more seasons.
Owner Chris Ilitch made the announcement before Saturday’s game against the New York Islanders.
“We are pleased with the progress,” Ilitch said. “We believe Ken is the right person to lead this process and we’re thrilled to have him back.”
Holland, 62, signed a two-year contract extension, to continue presiding over the team he began since 1997. He’s been part of the organization for 35 years, beginning as an amateur scout in western Canada.
“I feel fortunate to be back,” Holland said. “I feel very fortunate to be working with passionate owners. I know we have a hard task ahead.”
Update #3: Here’s more from MLive’s Ansar Khan:
Here are Ilitch’s opening remarks at the news conference:
“I’m pleased to announce we’ve extended the contract of Red Wings general manager Ken Holland for two years. Ken has been an integral part of creating the sustained success of out franchise over the past two decades, including scouting, drafting many of the players who helped bring four Stanley Cup championships to Detroit. Both, our owner, Marian Ilitch, and I are pleased to have Ken under contract and leading the continued transformation of our roster.”
“The Detroit Red Wings are building our club through a dedicated emphasis on scouting, drafting and developing high-caliber NHL players. Following this strategy, we have worked hard to acquire future assets and now hold 11 picks in the upcoming 2018 NHL draft, the most in the league, including seven picks over the first three rounds. In addition, we hold 10 picks in next year’s draft. We remain laser-focused on one objective, building a Detroit Red Wings team that consistently competes for Stanley Cup championships. Our fans and supporters across Detroit, Michigan, and the world deserve no less and we’re excited for the immediate opportunity to further supplement our core of promising young players.”
“Ken contributed to our incredible run, not only as the team’s general manager, but also as a scout and as our director of amateur scouting. Scouting is at Ken’s core. He helped shaped us for the long-term success through shrewd drafting before, and we are confident he is the right person to do so again. While we transform our roster and continue to infuse young talent onto the team, we are working hard to maintain the championship culture that we have established in Detroit. Our veteran players have learned from some of the best leaders in the history of the game and we aim to maintain that culture and pass it on to the new wave of players who represent the future of the Detroit Red Wings.”
Here are Holland’s opening remarks at the news conference:
“I would like to thank Chris and Mrs. Ilitch and the Ilitch family for their confidence and support in signing me to a contract extension. I love working for the Ilitch family and Chris Ilitch and Mrs. Ilitch. I think they’re the greatest owners in the National Hockey League and feel very fortunate to work with passionate, committed ownership, Chris and Mrs. Ilitch and their family. You look at this beautiful building we’re in here. I think it’s the world’s greatest hockey arena. Certainly, that was the vision by Mr. Ilitch and Mrs. Ilitch and Chris made it a reality. So, I feel very very fortunate to be back. I understand there’s a big challenge ahead here going forward. I look forward to the challenge of rebuilding the Detroit Red Wings, ultimately the goal of legitimately compete for the Stanley Cup. We got a lot of work to do and I look forward to the challenge and very very fortunate and very very happy to be back.”
Update #4: From the Free Press’s Helene St. James:
“When I fly in an airplane, I always love to fly with a pilot who has done it before,” Ilitch said Saturday evening. “Ken Holland has had the experience of seeing a Detroit Red Wings team in the 1980s build from the ground all the way up to Stanley Cup champion.”
Holland, 62, is in his 35th season with the Wings. After two years in the organization as a goaltender, Holland started scouting for the team in 1985. He segued into five seasons as the team’s director of amateur scouting (1989-94) and three years as assistant general manager (1994-97) before being named general manger in 1997. The scouting aspect of Holland’s past held special appeal as the Wings are in rebuilding mode.
“He started out as a scout and many of the players he scouted – the Martin Lapointes, the Slava Kozlovs – a lot of these players went on to become very productive players and contributing to the Red Wings’ success,” Ilitch said. “And as he moved through our system and became our director of amateur scouting, he oversaw drafts that produced players like Nick Lidstrom, Vladimir Konstantinov, Chris Osgood, I could go on and on. Incredible players who ultimately were responsible for bringing the Cup back to Detroit four times.”
Update #5: Here’s more from the Associated Press…
“Around these parts, we’re used to be being in the playoffs, we’re used to competing for Stanley Cups, and believe me, that’s where we all want to be,” Ilitch said. “That’s a lot of fun. To get back there, it’s a process. We’ve done it before and we’re going to do it again.
“We think Ken is the right guy to lead that for our organization, so we’re thrilled to have him back.”
Detroit’s 25-year run of consecutive postseason appearances came to an end in 2015-16 and the Red Wings have missed the playoffs the past two seasons. They entered their final game of the season on Saturday against the New York Islanders 27th overall in the NHL with a 30-39-12 record.
Still, Ilitch pointed to Holland’s performance as both a scout and the team’s director of scouting as the Red Wings assembled the talent pool that won four Stanley Cups between 1997-2008 as an indication that Holland can mastermind the current rebuild.
“Ken Holland has had the experience of seeing a Detroit Red Wings team in the 1980s build from the ground all the way up to the Stanley Cup champion,” Ilitch said. “That’s the blueprint for our future and Ken knows that.”
Holland has traded to restructure the team and holds an NHL-high 11 picks in the upcoming entry draft.
“I understand there’s a big challenge ahead here going forward,” Holland said. “I look forward to the challenge of rebuilding the Detroit Red Wings.”
And MLive’s Khan:
Ilitch said scouting is at Holland’s core. Holland joined the organization as a Western Canada scout in 1985 and worked his way up to amateur scouting director and assistant general manager before being promoted to GM, shortly after the franchise ended a 42-year Stanley Cup championship drought in 1997.
“He helped shaped us for the long-term success through shrewd drafting before, and we are confident he is the right person to do so again,” Ilitch said. “While we transform our roster and continue to infuse young talent onto the team, we are working hard to maintain the championship culture that we have established in Detroit.”
Ilitch called Holland a tremendous evaluator of talent. Nothing beats experience, he said.
“The other thing I would say to you is when I fly in an airplane, I always love to fly with a pilot who’s done it before,” Ilitch said. “Ken Holland has had the experience of seeing a Detroit Red Wing team in the 1980s build from the ground all the way up to the Stanley Cup champion and it was done, obviously led by Hall of Fame general manager Jimmy Devellano (the team’s senior vice president), who was an incredible mentor for Ken, but he was a big part of that through his scouting. It’s going to be a process, we’re all going to need patience, but he has the skill and the experience to lead us through that process again.”
Ilitch said both sides felt comfortable with the two-year term.
“We’ve known Ken and he has known our family and our organization for so long, length is nothing we’re really too concerned about,” Ilitch said.
Also, from FSD: