Feb. 9, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; General managers Ken Holland (left) of the Detroit Red Wings and Brian Burke (center) of the Toronto Maple Leafs talk with NHL Networks sportscaster Kathryn Tappen (right) during an NHL press conference for the 2013 Winter Classic at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Ken Holland's Top 5 Worst Signings

Ken Holland has made a lot of great signings as GM of the Wings, but his work in the summer of 2012 was not some of his finest. Mandatory Credit: Rick
Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Oh, everyone makes mistakes.

Oh, yes they do,

Your sister and your our brother and your dad, and even Ken Holland too.

Big Bird taught me that lesson a long time ago and it was a message that I like to keep in the forefront of my mind as I reflect on Holland’s signings in the summer of 2012.

Now, I don’t hold anything against Holland for some of the bad decisions he has made during his tenure as Wings’ GM.  It’s easy to forgive especially when the majority of his choices have been good ones (3 Stanley Cups under his direction helps too).

However, Big Bird, as usual, knew what he was talking about when he said that we all make slipups from time to time, and Mr. Holland is no different.

With the recent acquisitions of Daniel Alfredsson and Stephen Weiss Holland and his team are working hard to redeem themselves from last summer’s debacle.  Yet, the Wings are still dealing with the fallout from those miscalculations over a year later.

By now we all know the story, but just in case you forgot, here’s the cliff notes: a desperate Holland signed Mikael Samuelsson, Carlo Colaiacovo, and Jordin Tootoo hoping to plug some of Detroit’s leaks, and all three went on to spend more time watching hockey rather than playing it.

Since this time, Colaiacovo was bought out by the club, (Samuelsson would have been if not for the buyout injury loophole), and Tootoo’s name has been the subject of trade rumors all summer.  Oh, and after their failed attempt to buyout Samuelsson, the Wings have spent the last number of weeks attempting to trade him… only asking for a brand new roll of Renfrew stick tape in return.

Surprise, surprise, no takers.

The Wings would already have productive forward Dan Cleary inked to a new deal if not for the aforementioned contracts.

When crafting this list there were a number of variables, but three key factors taken into consideration were: performance, contract, and games lost to injury. So, without further due, here are my top 5 worst Ken Holland signings of all time:

5. Carlo Colaiacovo (2 years/$5 million) – Holland wanted a player who could rival Samuelsson in man games lost to injury, so he brought in the only player he could think of who might put up a challenge. Carlo did more than earn his $5 million in the 6 games he played for the Red Wings.  Let’s not forget about the 2 games in Grand Rapids either.

4. Ray Whitney (3 years/$9.75 million) – Scored over 20 goals 5 times before putting up 14 for the Wings during the ’03-’04 season, and has since scored 20 goals plus 5 times since leaving Detroit.  David Copperfielded the Wings big time by only scoring 1 goal in the playoffs before Detroit bought him out the following year.

Mikael Samuelsson comes in at number 3 on the list of GM Ken Holland‘s worst signings. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

3. Mikael Samuelsson (2 years/$6 million)- Played 54 games in the previous 2 seasons before Holland had a stroke of genius and signed him to a new contract bringing him back to Detroit once again. However, he quickly put his injury woes behind him and dressed for 4 games during the 2012-2013 season, bringing his grand total of games played over that span to 58 games. If things go well this year Sammy could potentially suit up for 10 games. Fingers crossed.

2. Uwe Krupp (4 years/$16.4 million)- Played a total of 32 games for the Wings after signing with Detroit in 1998.  In Krupp’s defense, the dog sledding incident in which he herniated a disc in his back (ending his stint with the Wings) wasn’t his fault.  Dog sled racing is German hockey training 101… you take the good with the bad.

1.Derian Hatcher (5 years/$30 million)- Was a feared defender in Dallas before all of the rule changes that made running a ton of interference outlaw behavior. He came to Detroit in 2003, tore his ACL, and when he returned his skating made Andreas Lilja look like a young  Mike Gartner.

All in all, Holland’s blunders are nothing compared to some of the blunders I’ve made throughout my life… if this were a list of my top 5 worst drinking decisions you would concur trust me.




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Tags: Carlo Colaiacovo Detroit Red Wings Ken Holland Mikael Samuelsson Ray Whitney

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