Ken Holland HOF Election Based on 2002, Not After That

Ex-Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland elected to 2020 Hockey Hall of Fame. Holland was Red Wings GM for 22 seasons.

Well deserved, Ken Holland, well deserved.

And for that matter, you too, Marian Hossa, you too.

Earlier today, both Holland, the former Detroit Red Wings general manager, and Hossa, a player who wore the winged wheel for one season, were announced as members of the 2020 Hockey Hall of Fame class.

Say what you want about Holland and his decisions, but overall, he had a good track record early on in his tenure with the Red Wings, which spanned 22 years.

He general managed the team to three Stanley Cups – joining the team on July 18, 1997 – but he didn’t have as much of an impact on the 1998 Stanley Cup team as he did when he built one of the best teams in National Hockey League (NHL) history ahead of the 2002 season.

You all know too well, but that team included the signings of forwards Brett Hull and Luc Robitaille, and a trade that summer to bring Dominick Hasek to Detroit in exchange for Vyacheslav Kozlov, a 2002 first-round draft choice and future considerations.

Those were the glory days for Holland, but the team took a downturn after the 2008 Stanley Cup and 2009 Stanley Cup Finals runs. Not sure what Holland was thinking in the late 2000s, but he had a liking to hand out long-term contracts. Most notably Johan Franzen, who was signed to a $43.5 million, 11-year deal in 2009. Franzen, who hasn’t played since the 2015-16 season, is still on the books to earn $3.95 million in the final year of that deal.

Additionally, when the team struck out on prized free agents Zach Parise and Ryan Suter in 2012, Holland overpaid for players who didn’t live up to expectation. Most notably was Stephen Weiss, who played 78 games in two seasons for the Red Wings before Holland realized the mistake and bought out the final three years of his deal. Detroit is still paying $1.66 million on Weiss’ deal for the next two seasons.

So while it wasn’t all well and good throughout Holland’s tenure, he still brought years of joy to Hockeytown, and for that, I say, thank you.