How Dylan Holloway found success against the Calgary Flames on Friday

Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Liam Horrobin
6 months ago
The Edmonton Oilers pre-season feels like it is dragging on forever, but you’ll all be happy to know that after last night’s game against the Vancouver Canucks, the Oilers only have three remaining before opening night on October 11th. 
One thing the pre-season does is give players extra minutes and different opportunities that they wouldn’t normally have. With Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl on the sidelines against the Flames, Dylan Holloway got the minutes and leash needed to shine versus the Flames’s A-squad at the Saddledome. 
Last season, you may remember that Holloway won the Ty Rattie Award as the pre-season champ. However, once the regular season rolled around, his performance understandably dropped off and he ended the season with the Bakersfield Condors. But if Friday was any indication of what we’ll see from Holloway this season, then there’s no chance he spends any time riding the bus in 2023-24.
To start, skating was everything for Holloway on Friday.
There were plenty of instances that stood out, but one thing I noticed most was his ability to take away time and space with pressure. Additionally, he did a fine job of using his stick effectively, often finding ways to dictate the opposition’s possessions by attacking with his feet and clogging the lane with his stick. Overall, Holloway was very strong on the defensive side of the puck, but the best example came on his chance at the end of the first period.
Once he had possession, Holloway did a great job of keeping the play moving and not wasting time in the offensive zone. If the play wasn’t there, he didn’t hesitate to hold onto the puck for longer in favour of finding a better option. Something else that was great to see was that he was moving with purpose. Once he delivered the pass, his feet didn’t stop moving. Holloway found a way to get involved in the play, making himself a dangerous threat off the puck.
Finally, his anticipation to intercept passes was on full display against the Flames. A few times throughout the game, Holloway jumped ahead of a play and snatched the puck before Calgary was able to do much of anything. He was dialed in from start to finish at both ends of the rink, and that’s why he was trusted to play for almost 27 minutes.
Playing almost half the night is something that we won’t see Holloway do the regular season, however, Jay Woodcroft experimented with it on Friday night, and the former first-rounder delivered. Last season, fans were clamouring for Holloway to play more often and get more minutes when he did, but the trust wasn’t there between himself and the coaching staff. It is now up to Holloway to bring that same performance when it truly matters, which is the regular season.
Myself and Tyler Yaremchuk had discussed the idea of Holloway returning to the Bakersfield Condors to start the season if the Oilers were looking for a little wiggle room. However, that idea has gone completely out of the window after what he’s done so far.

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