Ken Holland expected to be named Oilers new GM on Tuesday
NHL club hosting news conference at 12 p.m. ET
The Edmonton Oilers are turning to a three-time Stanley Cup champion executive to help the team, first and foremost, become a regular playoff participant.
Ken Holland, who spent the past 36 years with the Detroit Red Wings, is expected to be named general manager in Edmonton on Tuesday, taking over from the fired Peter Chiarelli.
Ken Holland is expected to meet with DET ownership today. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, an announcement of the move to Edmonton will follow at some point.—@FriedgeHNIC
Bob Nicholson, CEO and vice-chair of Oilers Entertainment Group, will host a news conference at 12 p.m. ET.
The 63-year-old joins an Oilers outfit that has not only missed the playoffs 12 of the past 13 years but didn't have a forward reach the 40-point mark this past season, besides Connor McDavid (116), Leon Draisaitl (105) and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (69).
Holland last guided Detroit to a Cup title in 2008, watching the team fail to reach the conference finals since and not advance to the post-season each of the last three years.
Role change in Motown
Recently, Holland shifted roles to senior vice president and signed a multi-year contract when former Red Wings player and executive Steve Yzerman returned to the club as GM after serving in the role for the Tampa Bay Lightning.
He'll have other challenges in Edmonton, where the Oilers reportedly were the highest-spending NHL team this season and finished 28th among 31 teams in the standings.
Holland, who is believed to have agreed to terms on a five-year contract worth $5 million per season with Edmonton, reportedly topped the wish list of the Seattle expansion franchise that is slated to join the NHL for the 2021-22 campaign.
The Vernon, B.C., native's stock apparently rose last week after the Vegas Golden Knights promoted Kelly McCrimmon to GM. Montreal Canadiens scout Sean Burke, former Toronto Maple Leafs co-assistant GM Mark Hunter and Keith Gretzky are said to have been among the final candidates. The 52-year-old brother of former Oilers great Wayne Gretzky was interim GM and point man leading up to this year's NHL trade deadline following Chiarelli's firing.
3-time Cup champion
His first move was a goalie swap on Feb. 16 when Gretzky sent Cam Talbot to Philadelphia for Anthony Stolarz, who posted a 3.77 goals-against average and .897 save percentage in six games for Edmonton.
Under Holland, Detroit also won Stanley Cups in 1998 and 2002, four Presidents' Trophies as the NHL's single-season point champion, 10 division titles and 13 times topped the 100-point plateau.
Chiarelli was fired on Jan. 22 with one season left on his five-year deal and the Oilers in a 5-12-0 funk that put them three points out of playoff position in the Western Conference.
Some have said Holland's reported deal with the Oilers includes complete autonomy to hire and fire at will. The head-coaching position remains unclear after Ken Hitchcock came out of retirement in late November to replace the fired Todd McLellan.
Hitchcock out as coach?
"I want to help here. But again, it's up to the [new] general manager," Hitchcock said in March.
A TSN report on Tuesday stated Hitchcock would not return to the Oilers bench.
An initial 8-2-1 surge under Hitchcock was followed by a few weeks of poor play, with Edmonton going 18-26-7 the rest of the way to finish 11 points out of a playoff spot at 35-38-9.
When asked what his frustration level was after the team's post-season hopes officially were extinguished, team captain McDavid said, "It's really high. It's really, really high. … It's been emotionally challenging, hard mentally to kind of keep on going.
"It's a slim margin of error in this league."