Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Edmonton Oilers Name Ken Holland as General Manager and President of Hockey Ops

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Edmonton Oilers Name Ken Holland as General Manager and President of Hockey Ops

Article excerpt

Oilers name Holland as GM, president of hockey ops

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EDMONTON - The Edmonton Oilers have made it official that Ken Holland is their new general manager, after Holland spent more than two decades and won three Stanley Cups doing the same job for the Detroit Red Wings.

Holland in turn, made it official Tuesday that he will not retain interim Oilers coach Ken Hitchcock, and that he expects the Oilers to be in the hunt in the playoffs next season and for the years after that.

"Right now times are tough. The team's made the playoffs once in 13 years," Holland told reporters at a news conference at Rogers Place. Sitting beside him were Oilers CEO Bob Nicholson and team owner Daryl Katz.

"Daryl and Bob have made a decision to bring me in. I've got to come in and I've got to change the culture."

Holland said he would begin by looking for a new coach, but said the key players are in place.

The Oilers have superstars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl to build around. They finished in the top four in league scoring, with Draisaitl hitting the 50-goal plateau.

But after those two, and centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, the offence falls off a cliff. The defence is thin and needs a puck mover. Goalie Mikko Koskinen, who signed a three-year extension at US$4.5 million per season in January, struggled in the top job after starter Cam Talbot was traded in February.

The Oilers, like the Red Wings, are bumping up against the salary cap and are saddled with anchor contracts like the US$6 million per year currently going to underperforming veteran winger Milan Lucic.

Holland said over the next month he will talk to people in the organization and see what needs to be changed.

"There's a great core. You have to build around that core," he said.

"I don't have a magic wand. It's a move at a time, it's a piece at a time. …

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