2012: Ken Holland’s Worst Summer


James Mirtle tweeted out the following today and it kind of tied into a thought that’s been rattling around in my head:

“If you haven’t made a mistake, they’re of no use to you.”

The Red Wings are expected to use at least one of their buyouts this summer. They may save another for next summer, they may not. Names commonly suggested as buyout candidates?

Mikael Samuelsson. Jordin Tootoo. Carlo Colaiacovo.

Yeah, the team would rather trade Tootoo and/or Colaiacovo if they can but that those three names – and almost exclusively those three names – are the team’s buyout candidates shines a harsh light on general manager Ken Holland’s efforts in the summer of 2012.

Samuelsson and Tootoo – along with oft-forgotten backup goalie Jonas Gustavsson – were Holland’s July 1 free agent signings. Colaiacovo was all Holland could get to shore up the team’s blue line after the Red Wings were spurned by Ryan Suter, signed just days before the start of the lockout that wiped out the first half of the 2012-13 season.

Three of Holland’s four signings from less than a year ago are candidates to be jettisoned when the league’s buyout period begins late Wednesday night.

If you don’t need a buyout if you haven’t made a mistake, clearly needing one means you did make a mistake. Seventy-five percent of Holland’s signings from last year ago are appearing to be mistakes, in fact (and the remainder is almost a non-entity).

I’m not saying he should be fired for that effort, I’m not even saying this is a trend. Holland has built Stanley Cup winners in both the pre- and post-cap eras and the team wasn’t expected to compete last season anyway. However, if you can look at the results of a summer just a year later and say that many of the team’s signings were mistakes, you have to recognize that 2012 has to go down as his worst summer as general manager of the Red Wings.


Clark founded the site that would become DetroitHockey.Net in September of 1996. He continues to write for the site and executes the site's design and development, as well as that of DH.N's sibling site, FantasyHockeySim.com.

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