EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — The Edmonton Oilers hired longtime Detroit Red Wings executive Ken Holland as their new general manager and president of hockey operations Tuesday.
Holland takes over the struggling team from interim GM Keith Gretzky and one of his first tasks will be finding a new coach. Veteran Ken Hitchcock will not be back next season after taking over in November for the fired Todd McLellan.
“Right now times are tough. The team’s made the playoffs once in 13 years,” Holland said at a news conference, flanked by 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.”
Edmonton has made the playoffs just once since advancing to the Stanley Cup Final in 2006, and the Oilers hope Holland is the GM who can finally build a contender around superstars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.
“There’s lots of great pieces in place here,” Holland said. “I’d like to think we’re talking playoffs in ’19-20 when you look at some of the young players on this team.”
Behind McDavid, Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, there is not…