If the Detroit Red Wings finally miss the playoffs this year — and it’s a near certainty they will — their general manager, Ken Holland, will work hard this summer to make sure it doesn’t become a habit.
“We don’t want to miss two years in a row,” Holland told TSN today.
That being said, the GM is excited he’ll be going to the draft with so many selections. In the past few days, the Wings have acquired three third-round picks by selling off Brendan Smith, Thomas Vanek, and Tomas Jurco.
“Somebody told me it’s the most picks we’ve had in a draft since 2002,” said Holland. “Usually we go into these drafts with five or six picks, (because) we’ve traded picks away.”
The Wings may also draft in the top 10 for the first time since — amazingly — 1991. That was the year they took Martin Lapointe, who’s long since retired.
In spite of the losing season, Holland has been encouraged by a number of youngsters who’ve taken steps in their development, referencing Anthony Mantha, Andreas Athanasiou, Petr Mrazek, Tyler Bertuzzi, and Evgeny Svechnikov.
The GM didn’t have to mention Dylan Larkin, who’s still only 20. Larkin’s endured a tough sophomore season, but still has great promise.
The key for the Wings will be to add more and more young talent — especially down the middle and on the back end, which was once a great strength but is now a significant weakness.
“These moves that we made for these draft picks will allow us to pick more players,” said Holland, “and hopefully some of them will end up as Red Wings down the road.”