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Oilers’ Ken Holland Reportedly a Candidate to Become Blue Jackets GM

As the search for a new General Manager in Columbus continues, Ken Holland has emerged as a serious candidate.

Who takes the job of General Manager for the Columbus Blue Jackets will certainly be an interesting storyline. With a developing young core, substantial draft capital, and intriguing veteran players, the Blue Jackets have a bright future ahead. And, as the Edmonton Oilers move in a new direction after this season, it makes sense that Ken Holland’s name is out there.

Columbus hasn’t been that open when it comes to sharing details regarding their GM search. However, the Blue Jackets prefer to have an individual who has past experience in hockey management, according to interim manager John Davidson. Jarmo Kekalainen was the GM of the Blue Jackets for 11 years before his firing in February. Columbus is clearly prioritizing experience to guide this new generation of Blue Jackets players. Several names have surfaced as being potential candidates such as Mark Hunter, Marc Bergevin and Mathieu Darche.

Now an additional name has joined the conversation for Blue Jackets GM. Ken Holland, who is the current GM for the Edmonton Oilers, has surfaced as a major candidate to potentially receive the job according to reports. Andy Strickland, a reporter for the St. Louis Blues, suggests that Holland could very well end up being the next GM for the Blue Jackets once the Oilers’ playoff run is over.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman brought up similar points about the Blue Jackets on May 15th’s 32 Thoughts: The Podcast episode. There’s a good chance that the Blue Jackets are waiting on teams so they could interview specific candidates that interest them. In this case, the Blue Jackets would be waiting for Edmonton’s playoff run to end before potentially speaking with Holland.

Friedman states the following:

“What’s going to happen in Edmonton after the season? That is I think one of the situations that could have an effect on Columbus.”

Columbus isn’t afraid to wait it out so they could speak to a candidate that they like. There isn’t an exact date for when the Blue Jackets want to name a GM, but it’s assumed by many insiders that they would like to have a GM in place by the 2024 NHL Draft.

Would Holland Be The Right Hire for Blue Jackets?

Holland certainly fits Columbus’ criteria of being an experienced GM. Prior to being hired by the Oilers, Holland spent 22 seasons as the GM for the Detroit Red Wings. During his time with the Red Wings, the team managed to get four President’s Trophies, ten division championships and five season conference titles.

He joined the Oilers organization in 2019 and it’s safe to say that there’s been mixed results. While Holland has made good moves such as signing Zach Hyman and trading for Mattias Ekholm, he’s also had his share of moves that have failed. Most notably the Jack Campbell signing and the acquisition of Andreas Athanasiou and Mike Green during the 2020 Trade Deadline.

Ken Holland NHL Trade Talk

While the experience is certainly there, it may not translate to success all the time. Many believed that this would be Holland’s last season before he retires from hockey all together. However, if he decides to give it another shot, it’ll definitely be with another franchise.

Columbus would be an interesting place for Holland. It would be fascinating to see how a veteran GM approaches a young core to transform them into a playoff team. Maybe he joins the organization in a mentorship role to help guide another individual into management. He would be an interesting addition to Columbus’ front office.

It’s likely that if Holland does join the Blue Jackets, it may be in a reduced role. It’s unknown if he wants to continue in management after this season, but given the criteria Columbus has for a new GM, expect some talks to be happening behind the scenes.

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