The Wisconsin Badgers’ season has come to an end.
The team’s NCAA Tournament ended as quickly as it began, as the Badgers got taken down by a score of 6-3 by Bemidji State, ultimately knocking them out in the first round.
Still, it was a very successful season for the Badgers and the Edmonton Oilers’ first-round pick from the 2020 draft, Dylan Holloway. The Badgers won the Big Ten Title this year, an impressive jump given the fact they finished in the basement last year. Holloway was a key part of the team’s success, scoring 35 points in 23 games. He’s a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award for the NCAA’s top men’s hockey player.
So now that the Badgers’ season is over, attention shifts to Holloway, who can ink an entry-level contract with the Oilers and turn professional.
That brings us to this week’s What Would You Do Wednesday FRIDAY EDITION question. Should Dylan Holloway join the Oilers? Is he ready for the NHL? Or should the team take it slow and allow him to work through the AHL with the Bakersfield Condors?
It seems inevitable that Holloway will soon sign a contract with the Oilers, which would put an end to his NCAA career and allow him to start his next chapter as a pro. He’s now played two seasons with the Badgers and he looks ready to make that next step.
One of the Oilers’ biggest needs right now, as we know, is on the left-wing in the top-six. We’ve talked plenty about how Ken Holland should go out and trade for a lefty to play with either Leon Draisaitl or Connor McDavid before the trade deadline, but maybe the answer to this question is internal. Holloway is a big, strong player with skill who plays an effective two-way game. He’s only 19 years old, but you’d think he was older than that watching him play.
Of course, we also know that Holland is a very conservative general manager when it comes to developing prospects. Evan Bouchard didn’t play with the Oilers in 2019-20 despite the fact he was probably good enough to do so and instead spent the entire season in the AHL. The same goes for Philip Broberg, who’s currently honing his craft in the Swedish Hockey League.
But things a bit different when it comes to defencemen and forwards. The former generally take longer to develop and it makes sense for them to spend more time in the minors learning the ins and outs of the pro game. A forward like Holloway with two years of NCAA experience is more likely to skip the AHL step than a young defender.
A similar example to this situation would be Brock Boeser, who the Vancouver Canucks drafted with the No. 23 overall pick back in 2015. Boeser played the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons with the University of North Dakota and then signed an entry-level deal with the Canucks in March of 2017 and immediately joined their team. He hasn’t played a single game in the AHL.
What say you, Nation? Holloway is likely going to sign an entry-level deal soon. Should the Oilers send him to Bakersfield? Or could he immediately jump in and be a solution for the Oilers? Let us know!