EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — Yzermans arrival sends Holland packing for the west coast.
The Edmonton Oilers hired longtime Detroit Red Wings executive Ken Holland as their new general manager and president of hockey operations Tuesday.
Holland takes over the struggling team from interim GM Keith Gretzky and one of his first tasks will be finding a new coach. Veteran Ken Hitchcock will not be back next season after taking over in November for the fired Todd McLellan.
“Right now times are tough. The team’s made the playoffs once in 13 years,” Holland said at a news conference, flanked by Oilers CEO Bob Nicholson and team owner Daryl Katz. “Daryl and Bob have made a decision to bring me in. I’ve got to come in and I’ve got to change the culture.”
Edmonton has made the playoffs just once since advancing to the Stanley Cup Final in 2006, and the Oilers hope Holland is the GM who can finally build a contender around superstars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.
The Oilers fired general manager Peter Chiarelli in January as the team struggled to stay in the Western Conference playoff race despite having a team led by McDavid, arguably the best player in the world.
Chiarelli was in his fourth season with the club, leading the team to a single playoff appearance in 2016-17. The Oilers advanced to the second round before losing to Anaheim in seven games.
The Oilers hope the combination of Holland and a new head coach, which will be the team’s eighth since 2009, will give the team the stability it expected to get with Chiarelli and McLellan running the show.
“We have not delivered in the promise we made to our fans in recent years,” Katz said. “You know it, I know it, we all know it.”
Katz said Holland has full autonomy on hockey decisions: “He knows how to build a culture of winning.”
“And while accountability for this falls on everyone in our organization it starts and it stops with me,” the owner said. “We’re listening to our fans. We get it and we’re doing everything we can to get it right.”
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