Ken Holland named one of hockey’s most powerful and influential, but so what? He still has to fix the Oilers

This in from The Hockey News, their ranking of Edmonton Oilers hockey boss Ken Holland as the 42nd most powerful and influential person in hockey: “If there’s a proposal for a new rule coming out of the GM meetings, there’s a good chance Holland has come up with it or had a hand in helping it get passed.”

My take

  1. Not surprising to see Holland on the list, but this will come as little solace to fans of the Edmonton Oilers, who still recognize massive holes on the Oilers roster and note that Holland has yet to fill them.
  2. Holland’s best days in Detroit ended a decade ago. He’s got a lot to prove in Edmonton. So far, I’ve liked his obvious enthusiasm. In this way, he seems like the right pick for Edmonton right now, someone with a great reputation and a great attitude who is a credible frontman for an organization that needs some credibility. But for Holland and the Oilers, it all comes down to winning and the GM has got to make some moves this summer to shore up the Oilers’ depth at forward.
  3. On July 1, when Holland announced a number of roster moves but none of them of great significance, he indicated there was more to come: “There’s still two months to go,” he said.  And a moment later, he added: “I don’t think that we’re done… Certainly we’d like to add another player who has the potential to score 20 goals. We’ll see if we can make that happen.” More help is needed at forward, he said. “As we sit here today obviously we need a third line centre,” Certainly we’re on the lookout to see if we can find another guy between now and training camp that can play centre.”
  4. Holland’s biggest move was to buy out Andrej Sekera’s contract, which cleared out cap space and also opened up a depth spot on the Oilers rosters for an over ripe prospect like Caleb Jones, William Lagesson or Ethan Bear. The Oil clearly are in need of that cap space when it comes to finding a Top 6 winger or third-line centre.
  5. The most likely scenario is that Holland will trade a draft pick or a d-man like Kris Russell or Matt Benning and/or forward Jesse Puljujarvi in order to get that Top 6 winger or 3C.  Many teams are in cap trouble and will have to move out a player with some salary. No doubt Holland is targeting one of those teams, but the job isn’t done until he pulls the trigger on the right deal. Will we see it? If Holland really is one of the top GMs in the NHL, he’s got to make it happen, but he can’t pull a Chiarelli and make a bad deal. He’s got to both pull the trigger but also take aim at the right target.
  6. Holland just hired two of his Detroit lieutenants, Archie Henderson and Tyler Wright, as his main pro and amateur scouts in Edmonton. Change was needed at the pro side, and as I’ve explained in recent posts, churn is needed on the amateur side, where even the best scouts seem to have a five-to-ten year shelf life with any one organization.