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

(Detroit Free Press)
(Detroit Free Press) /
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Red Wings, Ken Holland
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

2020 offseason results

Steve Yzerman

With a successful draft that saw 12 new players enter the prospect pipeline, Yzerman has secured a series of high-potential players that could one day crack Detroit’s roster. While the roster itself is still a ways away from competing, a draft with this amount of talent could go down as one of the key building blocks to a potential Stanley Cup-winning team.

Free agency saw Yzerman sign a slew of players. He added two forwards, two defensemen, and a goalie in Bobby Ryan, Jon Merrill, Troy Stecher, Thomas Greiss, and Vlad Namestnikov. Visit our free agency review to get to know them better.

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Ultimately, Yzerman had one of the most successful offseasons a general manager could have had, especially considering the upgrades the team now possesses.

Final Grade: A

Ken Holland

Playing the conservative card again, Holland made a few very quiet moves that could prove to be highly beneficial to the Oilers’ depth.

He signed Kyle Turris and Tyson Barrie to low-cost, team-friendly deals that will do a lot of good toward bolstering the Oilers’ offensive output. Keep an eye out for the Oilers’ power play next season; it’s bound to be deadly with a roster like this.

Having said that, Holland did very little to address the Oilers’ most important need: goaltending. While he signed long-term tender Mike Smith to a one-year extension, Smith, at 38 years of age, will not be a key difference-maker for the Oilers. All in all, time will tell how the roster will shake out, but right now, the help between the pipes seems minimal at best.

Final Grade: C

The future holds the final results between Holland and the Edmonton Oilers, as well as Steve Yzerman and the Detroit Red Wings.

Holland and Yzerman are in very different places with their team. While Yzerman is in the midst of a rebuild, Holland will spend his time trying to build a Cup-winning roster around one of the greatest players of all time.

On paper, the Oilers have the edge, as they’re closer to winning a Cup at this point in time. Having said that, the Oilers’ lack of solid, consistent defense and goaltending make their roster appear a lot shakier in practice.

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The Red Wings still have a few years left in their rebuild before they’ll be in the conversation for contention, but Yzerman has them in a perfect spot. Building a winning team isn’t easy, but if it requires a bit of time to build consistent success, it’s up to the Red Wings to trust Yzerman’s process.