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Dylan Holloway relishes opportunity to contribute in a Stanley Cup Final

Edmonton Oilers Dylan Holloway Stanley Cup Final
Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Tyler Yaremchuk
1 month ago
Regardless of how this Stanley Cup Final series ends, there are a handful of positives to come out of this run that the Edmonton Oilers have put together.
I’m not just talking about the countless memories we’ve made as Nation Citizens as the Oilers have marched through three rounds of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Still, I mean in terms of actual tangible positives that will stick with this organization heading into next season.
Liam Horrobin recently wrote an in-depth piece on Philip Broberg’s emergence over the last eight games and how it’s very easy to envision him now being a part of this team’s top four for years to come.
Today, I want to focus on Dylan Holloway.
The Oilers 2020 first-round pick is coming off a regular season that was pretty up and down, both figuratively and literally. His play and minutes at the NHL level were inconsistent, and he was sent back and forth between Edmonton and Bakersfield several times during the year. 
He also fought through another injury, which has plagued him a bit over the last couple of seasons as he’s sought to establish himself as a regular at the NHL level.
But something has seemed to click this spring, and he’s been a spark plug for this Oilers team that, at times, has really needed it.
Unlike Broberg, who kind of just popped into the lineup out of nowhere during the Western Conference Finals, Holloway’s emergence started back during the regular season.
While a lot of people will look at the run he had to end the regular season where he posted three goals and two assists in the team’s final six games as the point where his game really took the next step, there were moments earlier in the season where he was starting to look more and more comfortable at the NHL level.
When I think back to the Holloway that we saw last season, I remember a player that seemed pretty timid. It looked like he was always just looking for a quick and safe play to make rather than trusting his offensive instincts and trying to create something. 
This year, I started to notice a bit of a different mindset with Holloway and one moment that stands out, in particular, was during a game back in January against the Nashville Predators where Holloway scooped up the puck in the neutral zone, looked up, and instead of just chipping the puck in and going to get it, he went and made a great move to burn the Predators defenseman to the outside and it resulted in a good scoring chance.
He’s always had the tools. It just felt like his mindset needed to change, and as cliche as it might sound, he needed more confidence. That confidence, which has been on full display in these playoffs, is something Holloway says is a result of his time down in Bakersfield.
“They helped me a lot. You just get so much ice time playing in every situation and getting like 20 minutes a night. For me, that was the biggest thing, getting your touches in, and you just feel so confident. That definitely helped me” said Holloway when he spoke ahead of the Stanley Cup Final.
Of course, that’s just as much a complement to Holloway’s hard work as it is to the system the Oilers have in place with their AHL affiliate.
“I loved Bakersfield. Obviously, it’s not where you want to be, but the group of guys down there give it a great culture,” said Holloway
The offensive boom that Holloway has seen here in these playoffs, with five goals now in 22 games, is also a result of finally getting some legit opportunities. 
For a good amount of these playoffs, he’s been riding shotgun next to Leon Draisaitl. The duo has looked good together, and in their 116 5v5 minutes, they’ve outscored the opposition 6-5 and controlled 52% of the shots on goal.
Holloway spoke about what it’s like to play next to one of the NHL’s best centremen:
“I mean, for me, I just try to get him the puck and get open. At the same time, I try to use my skill and, speed and physicality to get in on the forecheck. Being able to burn up and down his right wing is good for us both”.
I think Holloway and Draisaitl could be a very strong duo for the Oilers for years to come. The combination of Draisaitl’s elite playmaking and his ability to control the pace of the game pairs nicely with Holloway’s speed and forechecking. As Holloway continues to mature at the NHL level, he’s only going to get more and more comfortable with Draisaitl.
For now? Holloway is just trying to soak in the moment as the Oilers chase down their first Stanley Cup win since well before he was born.
“It’s pretty special. It’s what you dream of as a kid. To think when I was playing for the Okotoks Oilers that I’d be playing in the Stanley Cup Finals for the Edmonton Oilers, I probably wouldn’t have believed you.”

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