General manager Ken Holland has signed a four-year contract with the Detroit Red Wings that will keep him with the organization through the 2017-18 season, the team announced Thursday.
"I've been here a long time and very proud, very happy to be a Red Wing," Holland told Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press. "I work for, I believe, the best owners in the NHL; passionate, committed. It's nice to know that ownership has confidence in me to continue to lead going forward."
Holland, 58, has been Detroit's general manager for the past 17 seasons. He's been at the helm for three Stanley Cup championships (1998, 2002 and 2008) and the team has reached the Stanley Cup Playoffs every season.
"I'm proud of our 23 years of making the playoffs (consecutively) and I'm excited about challenges going forward," he said. "We've been a team, the last two years, that's been a bubble team. I believe, if you get in and you get hot, it's wide open.
"Our goal going into 2014-15 is, hopefully, we can compete with the top teams in the East, with Boston and Tampa Bay and Montreal, which went to the final four. We've got a tough division. We're trying to compete for a playoff spot, be a contender. At same time, we're also trying to develop young players to build a core much like we did in late '80s, early '90s that carried us for a decade, and then again in the late '90s. I'm optimistic and excited about our younger players, that they will continue to develop into Detroit Red Wings players."
Getting one of those young players signed, restricted free agent defenseman Danny DeKeyser, is high on Holland's to-do list.
"We'll find a solution," he said. "We like Dan a lot; he's been a real good, young player for us. The hard part is trying to find what's fair for player and for club. He's only played 76 games, but he's a real important part of our team. We'll get him done."
Holland also wants to sign coach Mike Babcock to a new contract; Babcock is entering the final season of his agreement.
"I talked briefly to Mike [Wednesday]; we exchanged texts. He's out west," Holland said. "When he gets back to town, at training camp, we'll sit down and talk. It's best that he and I talk about the situation when we're face to face and both engaged in the conversation. So sometime in September, we'll talk."
Since Holland moved up from assistant GM in July 1997, the Red Wings have more regular-season wins (746) and postseason wins (115) than any NHL team. Detroit has won the Presidents' Trophy four times, won 10 division titles and reached 100 points 13 times.
"Ken is regarded as one of the premier executives in the National Hockey League and has been instrumental in the success of the Red Wings over the last two decades," Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch said. "Marian [Ilitch, co-owner] and I are extremely pleased that he will continue to lead our hockey club over the next four years. We feel strongly that stability is key to the success of any organization, and having this new agreement in place with Ken is important to the organization and its future."
Holland was a Red Wings player and scout, and has been with the organization in various capacities for the past 31 seasons.