Hol­land sticks to script

Wings GM is dig­ging in his plan to dig team out

The Detroit News - - Front Page -

From one van­tage point, the Red Wings look doomed. They don’t have stars in their prime or a stocked farm sys­tem, and they don’t have loads of salary-cap space. They also don’t have a proven history of re­build­ing be­cause, well, they haven’t done it in 25 years.

Ken Hol­land has heard the yelps and knows the odds, and he’s not giv­ing in or giv­ing up. He’s also not in­ter­ested in de­fend­ing his record of suc­cess or be­la­bor­ing the rough re­al­ity of the Wings’ cur­rent cir­cum­stance. They’re stuck in a dif­fi­cult spot partly be­cause they’ve avoided it for so long, and Hol­land takes a lot of the heat. He gets it, agrees with some, ve­he­mently dis­agrees with some. The Wings’ long­time GM is dig­ging in, and stick­ing to the plan for dig­ging out. The Wings won’t make a big splash when free-agency opens Satur­day. They won’t trade fu­ture picks or prime young as­sets. They will sign one or two stop­gap veter­ans — pos­si­bly a de­fense­man such as the Pen­guins’ 33-year-old Trevor Da­ley — with the goal of reach­ing the play­offs in their first sea­son at Lit­tle Cae­sars Arena.

That sounds stub­born to some, even though the touted al­ter­na­tive — the un­seemly no­tion of “tank­ing” for bet­ter draft po­si­tion — pro­vides no clear timetable for suc­cess. The Wings are ad­just­ing some el­e­ments but Hol­land isn’t al­ter­ing his ba­sic phi­los­o­phy. He loves the size of 6-6 cen­ter Michael Ras­mussen, taken ninth in the first round of the en­try draft. The Wings added bulk and de­fense with their 11 picks, and when their draft class was ripped as un­der­whelm­ing by many ex­perts, Hol­land didn’t fire back.

“If you think we’re a mil­lion

David Gu­ral­nick/Detroit News

Free agency: Pitts­burgh’s Da­ley could be Wings’ like­li­est op­tion, Red Wings gen­eral man­ager Ken Hol­land dis­agrees with the no­tion that his team is “a mil­lion miles be­hind ev­ery­one else.”

BOB WOJNOWSKI

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