Considering Ken Holland's options once Edmonton Oilers season is over

Ken Holland's future with the Edmonton Oilers has yet to be clarified at this stage, but there has been some speculation about what may lie ahead for him.
2021 Hockey Hall Of Fame Induction - Press Conference
2021 Hockey Hall Of Fame Induction - Press Conference / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

Entering the 2023-24 campaign, we wrote about how this was crunch time for Ken Holland as general manager and president of hockey operations with the Edmonton Oilers. Entering the final season of his five-year, $25 million contract, he had yet to deliver the Holy Grail for one of the NHL's most hardcore and passionate fan bases.

Sure Holland has had some success in Edmonton, best highlighted by qualifying for the playoffs in all five of his seasons with the Oilers. However, this is arguably the bare minimum that should be required when you have the best player in the game, as well as another who is regularly among the top 5-10 in the NHL.

Further, this shows just why hockey is a team game, with you still needing a strong overall roster capable of competing and contending, no matter the superstars you possess. Ultimately, for all Holland has achieved, his tenure in Edmonton is tainted thus far, given that the likes of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are still waiting for their first taste of the ultimately glory the NHL has to offer.

Is Holland's legacy on the line?

Yes, the 68-year-old already has three Stanley Cups from his time as general manager with the Detroit Red Wings, while also being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame as a builder in 2020. However, his legacy will still take at least a slight hit, if he is unable to win a championship this season with the Oilers.

In fact, the ultimate outcome of this season will likely go some way towards determining what the future holds for Holland. Win the Stanley Cup, and he can either retire from hockey on a high, or possibly even convince the Oilers to offer him another deal to remain in Edmonton (if he so chooses).

On the other hand, if the Oilers fall short, then the Vernon, British Columbia native will be finished in Edmonton full stop. However, even if this is what ultimately transpires, all hope may not be lost for him, if he does indeed wish to continue working in the NHL after this season.

An potential opening in Columbus

Consider the words of Sportnet's Elliotte Friedman, on Wednesday's 32 Thoughts podcast. Speaking about the Columbus Blue Jackets search for their next general manager, he said: "Kind of the profile of (what) they're looking at, is people who've been managers before, but I am under the impression that they are still waiting to talk to people. You know, what's going to happen in Edmonton after this season? That is, I think, one of the situations that could have an effect on Columbus. Are there any other teams that are going to go out, that they're going to want to talk to people from their organisations?"

Of course this doesn't actually guarantee Holland would get the position. Along these lines, this is about the Blue Jackets performing their due diligence.

This due diligence includes speaking to someone who has repeated experience of going all the way and winning the Stanley Cup, i.e. someone who knows what it takes. At the same time, Holland last achieved this back in 2008; in addition, other candidates mentioned such as Marc Bergevin and Jason Botterill, are considerably younger and have more years left in the game.

Next. Waking up with the Oilers- Crucial Game 5 in Vancouver. Waking up with the Oilers- Crucial Game 5 in Vancouver. dark

Overall though, if nothing else, at least Holland does have some potential options, regardless of how this season plays out. Of course, if the Oilers can find a way to win their first Stanley Cup since 1990, he will hold more power over what he ultimately decides to do.

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