DETROIT -- Ken Holland is celebrating 20 years in Detroit with a new contract.
The Red Wings announced on Thursday a four-year deal that will keep Holland as general manager through 2017-18. Holland first joined the club in 1994, as an assistant general manager.
"I've been here a long time and very proud, very happy to be a Red Wing," Holland told 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."
There never was any doubt that an extension would come, it was just a matter of when. But now that this domino has fallen, Holland has set in motion re-upping head coach Mike Babcock, who is entering the final year of his contract.
"I talked briefly to Mike yesterday; 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."
More immediately, Holland is working on a contract for restricted free agent defenceman Danny DeKeyser.
Holland said, "We'll find a solution. 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."
Since taking over as GM in July 1997, Holland, 58, has put together a team that has won more regular-season games (746) and postseason games (115) than any other NHL team.
"I'm proud of our 23 years of making the playoffs, 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 the 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."
In a statement released by the team, owners Mike and Marian Ilitch cited Holland's success, saying that "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."
-- USA Today