Carlos Osorio/Associated Press
Ken Holland has helped the Detroit Red Wings become one of the best teams in the NHL since he took over as general manager in 1997.
His ability and willingness in the pre-salary-cap days to use draft picks as pieces in deals to get NHL talent made the Red Wings a consistent threat to win the Stanley Cup.
But his recent unwillingness to trade any first-round picks in an attempt to keep Detroit's prospect pool well-stocked has caused frustration at the NHL level with the Red Wings.
This frustration stems from the ineptitude and average nature of some of the players on the team. While Detroit certainly doesn't have one of the worst teams in the league (making the playoffs for the 23rd straight time last season), it was bounced from the postseason in just five games.
With the 15th pick in the 2014 draft, the Red Wings could have made a move but chose to stand pat instead.
On the day of the 2014 draft, Holland discussed his optimism with Detroit Free Press member Helene St. James: "I'm excited about this year’s draft because of what we’ve got already....we’re hoping to get another good prospect. We’re trying to build up, get as many prospects as we can and hope some of them end up in the NHL and help us win games."
This frustrates Red Wings fans to no end due to the fact that no one knows when these prospects will be called up. Holland has expressed his reluctance to let any prospect into the NHL prior to being ready, but he refuses to use what he's "got already" to his advantage to continue to acquire NHL talent like he did pre-salary cap.
Yes, the cupboard is well-supplied (see the 2013 Grand Rapids Griffins winning the AHL championship), but no, the cupboard will not be unnecessarily used anytime soon.
Detroit had a chance to make a move before the start of NHL free agency to bring itself back to "contender" status and thus actually attract some of this year's free-agent crop.
Holland needs to remember that not all of his prospects can or will make Detroit's roster if he keeps retaining players who are over the hill.