Edmonton Oilers used their #14 overall pick to address their greatest location of need– at forward. They picked Dylan Holloway, a centre/left wing with the University of Wisconsin.
With a 2001 Sep 23 birthday. Holloway is currently 19, having actually been too young for the 2019 Draft by just 8 days. At that, the native of Bragg Creek, AB was the 2nd youngest gamer in NCAA last season, in which he produced relatively modest totals of 8-9-17 in 35 video games.
The Oilers were simply outside this year’s leading tier of 12 or 13 players, with nobody above them making a reach pick. The next tier included a range of rankings, with Holloway regularly in the #14-21 variety.
At 6′ 1, 203 lbs, Holloway plays a power forward video game. In 2019-20 at UWisconsin he signed up with a strong freshman class that included fellow teenagers Alex Turcotte and Cole Caufield, both first-round picks (# 5 and #15 respectively) from the 2019 Draft. One outcome was that Holloway, about 8 months more youthful than both, discovered himself a bit further down the line-up, which reflected in his so-so offensive numbers. But just one year previously as a member of the Okotoks Oilers (!), he ripped up the AJHL to the tune of 40-48-88 in simply 53 video games, winning the league MVP while doing so.
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Let’s get some intel from individuals who have seen him play. These are excerpts from longer reports, though I will warn that some might be behind paywalls.
Steve Kournianos, The Draft Analyst offers this assessment:
- A hard-working power forward with a strong sense for the video game, Holloway was among the top gamers in Canadian Junior “A” for the AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers before beginning his draft year as a freshman for the University of Wisconsin. Blessed with ideal size and exceptional balance, Holloway is a jack of all trades who can play either center or wing; work as a playmaker or complete around the internet; and most significantly, be compared against opposing top players … Holloway is a hound off the puck who consistently applies pressure with physicality, particularly on the penalty kill. He gets included on the forecheck and produces turnovers thanks to clever checks out, appropriate stick positioning and fast turns towards the instructions of puck travel … Once he has the puck under control, Holloway features a fairly large skating base and accelerates with an effective stride and above-average straight-line speed. His primary step is quick, and he can make instantaneous directional changes, tight turns, and pivot on a dime while moving at leading speed, all while keeping control of the puck during these hard maneuvers. His skating most certainly is a forte, and his escapability along the boards while taking hard pushes reveals his elite balance.
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Grant McCagg of Recrutes explains him:
- Holloway … is one of those unusual NCAA freshmen playing in his draft year, and while his point total failed to titillate scouts, there were check in the second half that his offence was coming … Will he play center in the NHL? Many scouts imagine him on the wing in a physical, two-way role.
The exact same source cited numerous scouts, with extremely blended viewpoints:
- ” I’m a big fan. He will play in the NHL. I do not know if he’s got a ton of playmaking or scoring ability, however he’s strong, a great skater and competitive. He scored 40 in the (AJHL) the year prior to, so there’s some offence there, and he is a monster physically … I thought he was exceptional in the 2nd half. His skating is pro-like currently.”
- ” This person might be a third liner or a fourth liner. I do not see him as a top-six guy. Obviously, he’s an effective skater … he hasn’t actually proved that he’s a manufacturer.”
- ” He will probably be a winger, however able to fill in some games at center; he’s clever enough, huge enough and skates all right. I believe on an excellent team, you’re going to get the most out of him on the wing.”
According to his gamer page at EliteProspects:
- Holloway regularly uses pressure on the backcheck, pickpockets puck-carriers, makes timely hits, wields a disruptive stick– you name it. He never ever runs away the zone early and is a capable east-west aggressor who guards the puck from opposing protectors actually well.
In coworker David Staples’ draft sneak peek 2 pundits nailed Holloway at #14, including Guillaume Lepage:
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- The Oilers are often slammed for not having enough depth behind star forwards Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, which is why they may choose Holloway, an effective center with high-end offensive skills and a great skating capability.
Corey Pronman of The Athletic likewise tagged Holloway in a mock draft, including this commentary(and more) over at The Athletic(paywall caution):
- In Holloway, the Oilers get a top-end athlete. He’s a center with great speed and strength who can bulldoze his method past challengers. I think he’s extremely knowledgeable, however the amount of offense he brings is the argument point. I personally see a second-line forward, uncertain if a center or a wing, who can help a group and bring different aspects to a few of the more highly experienced people in Edmonton’s top-six.
Pronman’s coworker Scott Wheeler wrote a comprehensive function on the gamer, including this summary:
- After winning the AJHL’s a lot of important player award a full year prior to his NHL draft year, Holloway was allowed to play college hockey as an 18- year-old. He was one of just two first-year draft eligibles to play Department I NCAA hockey in 2019-20
Holloway said the decision to leave junior a year previously was made on the basis of his physical maturity.
As the season advanced, Holloway truly started to strike his stride. When I was there in the middle of February, he was the very best player for the frustrating Badgers throughout their two-game set with top-ranked Penn State, with points on three of their 6 goals.
Sam Cosentino of Sportsnet composes:
- A tough year for the second-youngest player in the NCAA, Holloway began to discover his stride in February, and ended up the year strong in Wisconsin. An effective, quick skater, Holloway likes to participate the forecheck and complete his hits. There’s a likeable level of grease to his video game and there must be plenty of room for him to return to what made him the CJHL Player of the Year in 2019.
Holloway is not a player who takes shortcuts. He plays in direct lines and is not scared to take the puck to the net. There’s a lot of brains to go along with the braun. Holloway is hard to deal with one-on-one not even if of his speed, but because of excellent hands and stick skills. He rates out as a modern-day power forward.
A couple of highlights of Holloway in action here:
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