DETROIT – Red Wings general manager Ken Holland and assistant GM Jim Nill have drafted, developed and acquired enough talent to help the franchise thrive as one of the most successful in sports for more than a decade.
For that, they were rewarded Wednesday with five-year contracts to replace their one-year deals.
“Both men are in terrific demand throughout the league, so it was important we signed them,” Detroit senior vice-president Jim Devellano said in a telephone interview. “They’ve been good for us for a long time and we want to keep things together.
“We’re happy with what has happened over many years, and why wouldn’t we be?”
Detroit has won four Stanley Cup titles since Holland was promoted to GM in 1997 and have earned an NHL-high 99 playoff wins and 588 victories in the regular season with him in charge. The Red Wings have set an NHL record with 10 straight 100-point seasons, a streak they extended last season despite losing key players to free agency and injuries. Holland is entering his 28th season with the team.
Nill has been Holland’s top assistant for 12 seasons, getting credit for helping select players such as Pavel Datsyuk in the sixth round of the 1998 draft and Henrik Zetterberg 210th overall the next year.
“Kenny and Jim have been the core of our front office for well over a decade and cornerstone to this franchise’s success,” Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch said in a statement.
Holland and Nill’s success and stability led to Steve Yzerman leaving the only franchise for which he has worked. Last week, the former Red Wings star forward became the Tampa Bay Lightning’s GM.
“Steve has known for a long time that Kenny and Jim were not going anywhere and that they were going to sign these long-term deals,” Devellano said.