I can only scratch my head at this Ken Holland quote from today’s post-free agent signing conference call, per the Free Press’s Helene St. James:
“We are trying to transition from older people to younger people,” general manager Ken Holland said Sunday afternoon. “We signed some veteran players because it’s important we have some veterans around our kids, but at the same time, it’s important that those kids get an opportunity. We believe we can make both things happen.”
Recent forward draftees Michael Rasmussen and Filip Zadina and defensemen Filip Hronek and Dennis Cholowski are among leading candidates to grab jobs either out of training camp or early in the season.
“We’re going to give a lot of young players a long look in preseason and the plan is, the hope is, to have two or three kids crack our lineup,” Holland said. “But they have to be ready. And if they don’t make the roster on opening day, that doesn’t mean they’re not up two weeks later. It’s a six-month season, and lots happens. Zadina and Rasmussen were just here at development camp and the message to those players is you have to come in and win a job. We are going to give them every opportunity.”
The Wings want to create a competitive situation balanced with rebuilding.
“The hope is we can hang in and the longer we can hang in, I think the better the environment is for the fans, for our players, especially for our young players,” Holland said. “Ultimately my focus as the manager is probably on this team a little bit down the road. I don’t want it to be way down the road, but a little bit down the road, we can be in the playoff race.”
St. James continues, and if there ever was a single-article summary of Ken Holland’s system of beliefs as they apply to his managerial moves, the above-quoted paragraphs are that philosophy distilled. The man truly believes that he’s threading the needle between a veteran-laden team and a youth movement.