Red Wings: Comparing Ken Holland and Steve Yzerman’s first season

(Detroit Free Press)
(Detroit Free Press) /
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Red Wings
(Detroit Free Press) /

How has Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman done in his first year? How did he compare to now-Edmonton Oilers manager Ken Holland?

Ken Holland and Steve Yzerman have a lot in common. Both started and ended their NHL playing careers with the Detroit Red Wings. Both men have managed the Red Wings. Both Holland and Yzerman, additionally, have finished their first seasons managing new teams: Yzerman with Detroit, and Holland with the Edmonton Oilers, respectively.

Holland and Yzerman both have a wealth of experience as general managers. This season saw tumultuous results for both teams, with neither qualifying for the playoffs. With that being said, though, who has had a more successful year?

Today, we’ll be looking at the team’s record, trades, offseason signings, and future outlooks in preparation for the 2020-2021 season. Sit back, relax, and enjoy!

Up first, take a look at the 2019-20 season results based on each respective team’s record.

Steve Yzerman

As every Red Wings fan is sure to note, the 2019-20 season was not one they’d like to remember. The team ended with a league-worst 17-49-5 record, with just 39 points total on the season. Career lows from long-term vets like Justin Abdelkader, Jonathan Ericsson, Trevor Daley, and Frans Nielsen played a huge part in sinking the Red Wings’ ship.

Their losing record, coupled with the lockdown-shortened season, left the Red Wings with the worst record in the salary cap era. At best, it was a forgettable season that led to the drafting of potential superstar Lucas Raymond.

Final Grade: B

Ken Holland

On the other hand, Holland had his first crack at managing the team that drafted franchise player Connor McDavid. He ended the season with a 37-25-9 record, placing the Oilers at second in the Pacific division. With an incredible season from German center Leon Draisaitl and immense growth from Kailer Yamamoto, it’s a sign for Edmonton’s hopeful future.

While the team performed admirably during the regular season, they were unable to qualify for the playoffs after losing to the Chicago Blackhawks in the best-of-five play-in series. Despite their best efforts, they were unable to make a run for the playoffs this past season.

Final Grade: B