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Should Ken Holland lead rebuild for Red Wings?

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If the Detroit Red Wings are going to turn their fortunes around, it’s going to be Ken Holland remaining at the controls.

Holland, who’s been general manager of the team since 1997, will be back at the helm according to three Detroit outlets. MLive.com, the Detroit Free Press and the Detroit News are all citing sources saying that ownership will not make a change after this season. Head coach Jeff Blashill, who has one more year left on his deal, is also expected to be back.

The Red Wings wrap up their season on April 7, so it should become official some time before the team breaks for the summer.

Holland entered the 2017-18 season without an extension, something that was routine business in year’s past. When that didn’t happen, and the Red Wings began to struggle again, he was firmly placed on the hot seat. After two decades in the GMs chair and three Stanley Cups, it’s been a good run, but with Christopher Illitch taking the ownership lead following his father’s death, it wouldn’t have been a surprise to see a new face replacing Holland.

Since 2011, the Red Wings have only one playoff series victory and have now missed the postseason two straight years after a 25-year streak of getting into the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

With the likes of Julien BriseBois, Kyle Dubas, Paul Fenton, Tom Fitzgerald, Mike Futa, and Laurence Gilman among the names floating out there as possible future NHL GMs, you have to wonder why ownership has faith that Holland is the one to lead them out of their current mess when he’s the one who helped direct them down that way.

Their salary cap picture is not a good one, and while the ceiling is expected to rise for 2018-19, the Red Wings have some important young pieces — Andreas Athanasiou, Dylan Larkin and Anthony Mantha — who are due raises as restricted free agents this summer. But while that extra room should help with re-signings, there are still the contracts of Frans Nielsen, Justin Abdelkader, Trevor Daley, Jonathan Ericsson, Danny DeKeyser, Darren Helm and Henrik Zetterberg — all Holland signings — that are long and eating a lot of space.

Holland’s rebuild efforts got off to a great start last month when he flipped Tomas Tatar and Petr Mrazek for draft picks. According to Cap Friendly, the Red Wings could have up to eight selections in the opening four rounds of this June’s entry draft and five in the first three rounds of the 2019 draft. That’s great for restocking the prospect cupboard or packaging in trades for young roster players who can aid in this rebuild.

But the hard part, identifying and securing talent, comes next.

“We’re not good enough quite right now,” Holland said last month. “For me, it’s about trying to acquire pieces that I think can have an impact on this team three, four years down the road in order to build a team that’s a playoff team, that’s got a young foundation. That’s the goal. Those are the decisions that I’m making.”

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

WATCH LIVE: Philadelphia Flyers at Detroit Red Wings

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Philadelphia Flyers

Claude GirouxSean CouturierTravis Konecny

Oskar LindblomNolan PatrickJakub Voracek

Jordan WealValtteri FilppulaWayne Simmonds

Jori LehteraScott Laughton — Matt Read

Ivan ProvorovShayne Gostisbehere

Travis Sanheim — Andrew MacDonald

Robert HaggRadko Gudas

Starting goalie: Petr Mrazek

[Flyers – Red Wings preview]

Detroit Red Wings

Tyler BertuzziHenrik ZetterbergGustav Nyquist

Darren HelmDylan LarkinAnthony Mantha

Justin AbdelkaderFrans NielsenAndreas Athanasiou

Evgeny Svechnikov — Luke GlendeningMartin Frk

Niklas KronwallMike Green

Jonathan EricssonTrevor Daley

Danny DeKeyserNick Jensen

Jimmy Howard

WATCH LIVE: Red Wings at Kings

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PROJECTED LINES

Detroit Red Wings

Tyler BertuzziHenrik ZetterbergGustav Nyquist

Darren HelmDylan LarkinAnthony Mantha

Justin AbdelkaderFrans NielsenAndreas Athanasiou

Martin FrkLuke Glendening — Evgeny Svechnikov

Jonathan EricssonTrevor Daley

Dan DeKeyserNick Jensen

Niklas KronwallMike Green

Starting goalie: Jared Coreau

[Red Wings – Kings preview.]

Los Angeles Kings

Alex IafalloAnze KopitarDustin Brown

Tobias RiederJeff CarterTrevor Lewis

Tanner PearsonAdrian KempeTyler Toffoli

Kyle CliffordMichael AmadioNate Thompson

Derek ForbortDrew Doughty

Dion PhaneufAlec Martinez

Jake Muzzin — Paul LaDue

Starting goalie: Jonathan Quick

Bruins’ Backes risks suspension with hit on Trocheck, Matheson fight

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In just his second game back for the Boston Bruins after being suspended for an awkward hit on Frans Nielsen, David Backes is at risk of another brush with the Department of Player Safety.

Backes was ejected from Thursday’s Bruins game against the Florida Panthers after a hit on Vincent Trocheck, which inspired an immediate response in the form of a fight with Mike Matheson.

As with many hits, this one is inspiring disagreements about the hit. On one side, some believe that Trocheck placed himself in a vulnerable position and likely don’t expect anything further:

Either way, if the Bruins want to rally for a comeback against the Panthers, they’ll need to so without Backes.

UPDATE:

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

PHT Morning Skate: NHL wants players, coaches to stop complaining

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Welcome to the PHT Morning Skate, a collection of links from around the hockey world. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at phtblog@nbcsports.com.

• Still steaming about the goaltender interference issue? Don’t expect any changes before the playoffs (National Post)

• Quit your bellyaching: The NHL wants players and coaches to stop whining about goaltender interference and other non-calls (Sportsnet)

• NHL attacks link between hockey, CTE in bid to exclude concussion expert from trial (TSN)

• Not one coach has lost his job this season so far. Here’s a look at those who are primed to become the first (USA Today)

• Why the Hockey Hall of Fame blew it by adding Pierre McGuire to its selection committee (Toronto Star)

• Washington Capitals Capitals General Manager Brian MacLellan signed to multi-year extension (Washington Post)

• Coyotes owner Andrew Barroway in discussions with potential investors (Arizona Sports)

• The bottom has fallen out for the Calgary Flames (FanRag)

• Senators’ thin front office a contrast to others in NHL (Ottawa Citizen)

• Can the Vegas Golden Knights win the Stanley Cup? (The Hockey News)

• Red Wings’ Frans Nielsen relieved to be back on the ice (Detroit News)

• After cardiac arrest, former NHL winger Craig Cunningham finds a calling as an advocate, scout (ESPN)

• DeBoer should still tweak while Sharks seek best forward lines (NBC Bay Area)

• The Sedins are not the problem in Vancouver (Faceoff Circle)

• U.S. defeats Czechs, 10-0, in second game at 2018 Paralympics (USA Hockey)

• Theo Fleury talks about how depression ended his NHL career (Grandstand Central)


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck