EDMONTON, AB - Among many of the factors that drove Ken Holland's decision to ultimately take the leap and leave the Detroit Red Wings organization after 36 years to join the Edmonton Oilers, there was one - one duo, to be precise - that was particularly enticing.
"I'm not coming into town with any magic wands," said the new Oilers GM and President of Hockey Operations. "The way I look at it, you've got to build it brick-by-brick; you've got the build the foundation. Part of the foundation, a big part of the foundation, is here."
If Holland views his new role from a perspective of an architect assessing construction that's already started, he expressed a sincere belief that existing pieces of the foundation are solid and are waiting for the proper complementary blocks to be added.
"There's huge pillars, foundation in that locker room. There's a great start and I've got to continue to build, to grow."
Video: 1-ON-1 | Ken Holland
Much like Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg were consistent pieces of the Red Wings roster during Detroit's stretch of 19 consecutive playoff appearances under Holland's reign, the new Oilers GM believes those anchoring pieces already exist in Edmonton and include the likes of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, as he goes to work on adding more around the core.
"They're certainly two massive building blocks and they're young. There's a chance they could get better," the Vernon, BC native said of the two Oilers forwards both coming off 100-plus-point campaigns. "Obviously it's two massive building blocks. I look forward to getting to know them as people."
Holland harkened back to the group in Detroit that found sustained success and draws on examples of perennial contenders in today's NHL that usually have one thing in common - something he believes the Oilers already possess amongst the existing pieces in their locker room.
"Yzerman, Federov, Zetterberg, Datsyuk; you look around at other teams and you've got to have that core of players to build around and certainly with the Oilers, they've got that core."