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It’s time for the Edmonton Oilers to see what Dylan Holloway can do

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Photo credit:twitter.com/EdmontonOilers
Zach Laing
6 months ago
Dylan Holloway took the pregame skate in Calgary ahead of game two on Saturday night leading many to wonder if he was about to play in his first NHL game.
It was just a tease, however, as he and Philip Broberg ended up as late scratches.
The reasoning?
“I thought it would be a great experience for them, especially in this building,” said Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft. “We felt they were ready for it, that’s why we did it.”
But how close are they to actually playing in games?
“I think we have a lot of really good available players that we can draw from,” said Woodcroft. “Certainly, those two are part of that group.”
Cheeky.
Both Dylan Holloway and Philip Broberg joined the Oilers last week as recalls from the Bakersfield Condors. They were part of the eight players the team brought up as the Black Aces, and it’s time to consider their spots on the team, namely Holloway.
Holloway joined the Condors this year and battled back from some off-season surgery for his thumb. Still, he appeared in 33 games in Bako scoring eight goals and 22 points. His season had some ups and downs, but nothing that wasn’t to be expected for a first-year pro.
Here’s some of what Oilers assistant general manager and Bakersfield Condors GM Keith Gretzky said of Holloway in March:
I think those first couple of games he played on adrenaline where he was just flying out there. I think that he hadn’t played hockey in a year. And it’s hard, the American Hockey League, you know, your nephew has been down there, it’s tough to play. And you’re playing against good hockey players and I think that our side (division) is really hard to play in. The last couple of weeks he’s starting to find his groove. He is more involved, he is skating better and driving to the net, protecting the puck, and you know the last handful of games, he’s really been noticeable.
And so for us, we’re excited because we see steps in the right direction and that’s the way that we look at it. As we’ve said before, it’s not just the points. If you look at Raphie [Raphael] Lavoie, he didn’t score until December 17th and for me it wasn’t just that he wasn’t scoring, it was a whole part of his game — winning 50/50 puck battles, backchecking, his pace, forechecking, being physical, using his size, driving to the net — and all of the sudden since the 17th he’s caught fire and he’s doing all of those little things and that’s probably why he’s scoring goals, is how I look at it. So, I think when you look at stats you can get fooled in a way, but with Dylan we’re really happy, he’s really taken another step in the last handful of games like I said, so we’re excited.
Take note of the bold part of that quote. Those are some key areas that Holloway has absolutely excelled in during his time in California. While those things grew and flourished in his game, he still had the production to match.
Let’s take a look at some of the other first-round offensive picks from the 2020 draft, where the Oilers took Holloway 14th overall:
  • First overall, Rangers, Alexis Lafreniere – 135 GP – 31 G – 21 A – 52 PTS
  • Second overall, Kings, Quinton Byfield – 36 GP – 5 G – 6 A -11 PTS
  • Third overall, Senators, Tim Stutzle – 132 GP – 34 G – 53 A – 87 PTS
  • Fourth overall, Red Wings, Lucas Raymond – 82 GP – 23 G – 35 A – 57 PTS
  • 10th overall, Jets, Cole Perfetti – 18 GP – 2 G – 5 A – 7 PTS
  • 12th overall, Panthers, Anton Lundell – 65 GP – 18 G – 26 A – 44 PTS
  • 13th overall, Hurricanes, Seth Jarvis – 68 GP – 17 G – 23 A – 40 PTS
  • 18th overall, Devils, Dawson Mercer – 82 GP – 17 G – 25 A – 42 PTS
  • 21st, Columbus, Yegor Chinakov – 62 GP – 7 G – 7 A – 14 PTS
Around the league, young forwards are getting their shots in the NHL. The top-end talent of the draft is apparent, with players like Stutzle and Raymond showing great offensive output, while there are guys like Lundell, Jarvis and Mercer who are also all playing massive roles on their team.
Holloway’s time post-draft has been tough. The broken thumb caused some big issues and likely stunted his chance to play in the NHL right away.
When you look at the Oilers roster from game two, there are two players whose time on ice jumped out at me: Zack Kassian, who played a game low 4:17, and Josh Archibald, who played the second least in the game with 4:39.
These are supposed to be two guys the Oilers were to rely on in their bottom six. They’re supposed to be players that can get out there, lay the body, and make physical impacts on the game. Yet, last night — and even in game one — you hardly felt their presence on the ice. Simply put, they’ve been non-factors.
If the Oilers are going to continuously roll out Archibald and Kassian for few minutes every game, why not see what a guy like Dylan Holloway can do in equal amounts of time? I’d be willing to bet Holloway would lay as many hits as these guys, or at the very least, have the same impact on the game as they do.
I have a hard time thinking that Holloway hasn’t been recalled to the Oilers for good. As Gretzky mentioned above, he has the tools to be a very effective player in the Oilers’ middle six, and those tools are ready to be transitioned into a full-time spot.
 

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