By: Will Burchfield
With Ken Holland in the final year of his contract and extension talks mum, it’s been speculated this could be his last go-around as Red Wings general manager.
Some reports have even suggested he could leave Detroit to become GM of the prospective Seattle franchise that could begin play as soon as 2020-21. Seattle submitted its application to the NHL for an expansion team last month.
But Holland, who has spoken recently like a general manager who expects to retain his job, isn’t worried about his future with the Red Wings. His sense of security stems in large part from his close relationship with the Ilitches.
“I’m the general manager of the Detroit Red Wings. Very proud, very honored to have this job. Obviously there’s speculation because my contract expires at the end of the year, but I’m not concerned about it because of the relationship that I’ve got with ownership, and at the same time, where I am with my career and my life,” Holland told 97.1 The Ticket on Tuesday. “So, it’s of no concern to me.
“And the rumors with regard to Seattle can only be rumors. They don’t even have a team.”
Earlier this month, NHL insider Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet said Holland would be one of the leading candidates to grab the GM job in Seattle should the city get a team.
“Let’s make no mistake about it, Kenny Holland is out there,” Kypreos said. “His contract is going to expire at the end of the year. No talks at all scheduled. It appears it might go all the way to the end of the season before it gets addressed. You’ve got to put him at the top of the list.”
Asked about this possibility on Tuesday, Holland, who scored big on Monday in his trade of Tomas Tatar, laughed and said, “I don’t even think they have a team in the league, do they? So, I think it’s rumors.”
“You guys create the rumors,” he added. “It’s not even a team in the league. Media people are the one creating the rumors.”
Holland led the Red Wings to 25 consecutive playoff berths before that streak was snapped last season. He’s since turned his attention to rebuilding the organization, namely by stockpiling as many draft picks as possible. Following last week’s trade of Petr Mrazek, Holland alluded to the coming offseason and the 2018-19 season as if he’d still be the man in charge.
Whether that’s so remains to be seen, but it’s clearly not a source of worry for the 62-year-old at the moment.