Management has been one of the main reasons that the Detroit Red Wings have been so successful over the past two-plus decades.
But in a shortened season where "parity" is the name of the game in the NHL, how has the Red Wings' management helped (or hurt) a team that is trying to make the playoffs for the 22nd straight season?
After hitting some initial rough spots in this season, (like a season-opening 6-0 loss to the St. Louis Blues or the Red Wings' recent five-game winless skid) Red Wings' senior management has steered the Red Wings in the right direction in a number of ways.
The first area is trusting what is on "the farm."
Trust in prospects: A-
This trust in prospects has factored in to play in enormous ways this season, due to the injuries that were sustained by many of the Red Wings' roster players.
The injury bug has bitten the Red Wings hard this season, as well as very frequently, so it would be easy to pull the trigger on a "panic" trade, but GM Ken Holland has not done that thus far this season.
This is largely due to the play of these prospects when up at the NHL level.
Brian Lashoff recently signed a three-year extension (via Winnipeg Free Press) with the Red Wings after his solid play during a rash of injuries to the Red Wings' defense.
Players like Tomas Tatar (seven points in 16 games) and Joakim Andersson (six points in 14 games) have played well after the Red Wings' forwards took their turn getting bitten by the injury bug.
The reason the grade above is only an "A-" is that Red Wings fans have not really had a chance to see Gustav Nyquist up at the NHL level.
Nyquist was up for just two games before being sent back down.
As he is supposed to be one of the best prospects that the Red Wings have, it is hard to see why other players like Tatar and Andersson get called up (and stay up) prior to, and longer than, Nyquist.
"If it ain't broken, don't fix it."
Well, this is only some what true in Detroit's case.
The Red Wings were "broken," but it wasn't due to any fault of the team not producing at full-strength.
The broken Wings were broken because of the injury bug which has finally (knock on wood) started to leave the Red Wings be.
The best trade that Ken Holland made during this fiasco of injuries was not making any trades.
Holland knew roughly what he had down "on the farm," so he wisely called up players that he knew could fit the bill where needed.
Just speaking in terms of "in-season" moves, there hasn't been as much to grade GM Ken Holland on as there would be in the offseason.
Having said that though, one has to realize that the reason the Red Wings are competitive is because of Holland's trust in his prospects.
Holland doesn't have a choice.
He was quoted last year in Pro Hockey Talk as saying that he didn't know if his team would make the playoffs, but "we’re doing this on the fly. We want to compete for the Cup this year, but we also want to compete for it in 2016."
Competing for it in a couple years in addition to this year is the key.
Not "selling the farm" so that the Red Wings can stay competitive in the short-run will also be crucial.
Overall, Holland has done what he has needed to do to keep the Red Wings competitive this season and competitive when the injury bug hit them hard earlier.
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