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Holland, Hurricanes, and push back

May 6, 2019, 11:15 AM ET [176 Comments]
Ryan Wilson
Pittsburgh Penguins Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Some thoughts from things happening around the league:

Ken Holland being hired by the Edmonton Oilers is the most Oileresque hire they could have made without having that person being a former player. Holland had enormous success as a general manager in Detroit. He built some of the best teams of all-time. This sounds great. Until you realize his best work was done without a salary cap and had an owner who would spend whatever necessary to entice the best free agents in the league. One thing Holland deserves a lot of credit for was taking chances on players from Europe. He was ahead of the curve in this regard. Unfortunately, in 2019 the entire league is aware of Europe and that is no longer a competitive advantage.

Holland during the salary cap era started with an excellent team and since then he has shown no ability to navigate the salary cap and refrain from giving out horrible contracts to depth players and adorn them with NMC and NTC’s. He does not understand players’ prime years are 24-26 consistently making Detroit prospects toil away in Grand Rapids for too long. By the time they are contributing to the big club they were due for raises and the team didn’t benefit from ELC value. Also, they were playing veterans with low skill who weren’t actually better than the prospects. I don’t see anything about Holland’s salary cap era managing that speaks to someone who is well equipped to lead the Oilers out of the rut Peter Chiarelli created. There are few things the NHL loves more than to recycle their general managers.

If the Carolina Hurricanes make the playoffs they are going to make it to the Conference Finals. They have made the playoffs four times since 2001-02 and it has resulted in a loss in the Stanley Cup Final to Detroit, winning the Stanley Cup, losing in the Conference Finals to the Penguins, and this year they have a Conference Finals berth at a minimum.

The Hurricanes don’t spend a lot of money comparatively speaking and they need to figure out how to make the most out of what they do spend. They have consistently shown signs of being a good team, but were submarined by terrible save and shooting percentages. When their PDO normalized their results started matching the expected goals percentage. A big part of their success is their defense. As a group they don’t have to worry about “pushback” because most of the time they are already moving forward. They are able to get the pucks to the forwards on a consistent basis and makes life tough on the opposition who has to consistently play chase.

I said before the playoffs that the Islanders were the most ideal matchup for the Pittsburgh Penguins. I don’t feel any different after the sweep. Watching the Islanders get swept by the Hurricanes only showed how pathetic the Penguins were and what a bad job the team did putting the players in a position to succeed. If the Islanders weren’t the most favorable matchup, who was? Columbus who swept Tampa Bay? The defending champs? Toronto? Yeah, it was still the Islanders. The Penguins worried about push back and the Hurricanes worried about pushing play forward. Mike Sullivan bailed on the pushing play forward and the Penguins got what they deserved.

Thanks for reading!
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