Edmonton Oilers utilized their #14 general pick to resolve their biggest area of need– at forward. They selected Dylan Holloway, a centre/left wing with the University of Wisconsin.
With a 2001 Sep 23 birthday. Holloway is already 19, having been too young for the 2019 Draft by simply 8 days. At that, the native of Bragg Creek, AB was the 2nd youngest player 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 gamers, with no one above them making a reach pick. The next tier featured a range of rankings, with Holloway consistently in the #14-21 variety.
At 6′ 1, 203 pounds, Holloway plays a power forward video game. In 2019-20 at UWisconsin he signed up with a strong freshman class that included fellow teens Alex Turcotte and Cole Caufield, both first-round choices (# 5 and #15 respectively) from the 2019 Draft. One result was that Holloway, about 8 months more youthful than both, found himself a bit further down the line-up, which showed in his so-so offending numbers. However simply one year earlier as a member of the Okotoks Oilers (!), he ripped up the AJHL to the tune of 40-48-88 in just 53 games, winning the league MVP at the same time.
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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 supplies this assessment:
- A hard-working power forward with a strong sense for the game, Holloway was one of the leading gamers in Canadian Junior “A” for the AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers prior to starting his draft year as a freshman for the University of Wisconsin. Blessed with perfect size and excellent balance, Holloway is a jack of all trades who can play either center or wing; act as a playmaker or finish around the net; and most significantly, be compared versus opposing top gamers … Holloway is a hound off the puck who regularly uses pressure with physicality, especially on the charge kill. He gets involved on the forecheck and creates turnovers thanks to wise checks out, proper stick positioning and quick turns towards the instructions of puck travel … Once he has the puck under control, Holloway features a reasonably wide skating base and accelerates with a powerful stride and above-average straight-line speed. His primary step fasts, and he can make instant directional modifications, tight turns, and pivot on a dime while moving at leading speed, all while preserving control of the puck throughout these challenging maneuvers. His skating most certainly is a forte, and his escapability along the boards while taking difficult shoves exposes his elite balance.
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Grant McCagg of Recrutes describes him:
- Holloway … is among those unusual NCAA freshmen playing in his draft year, and while his point overall stopped working to turn on scouts, there were check in the 2nd half that his offence was coming … Will he play center in the NHL? The majority of scouts picture him on the wing in a physical, two-way function.
The very same source pointed out several scouts, with distinctly mixed opinions:
- ” I’m a huge fan. He will play in the NHL. I do not know if he’s got a ton of playmaking or scoring capability, but he’s strong, a fantastic skater and competitive. He scored 40 in the (AJHL) the year prior to, so there’s some offense there, and he is a beast physically … I thought he was exceptional in the second half. His skating is pro-like currently.”
- ” This person could be a 3rd liner or a 4th liner. I don’t see him as a top-six man. Undoubtedly, he’s a powerful skater … he hasn’t really proved that he’s a producer.”
- ” He will probably be a winger, however able to complete some games at center; he’s smart enough, huge enough and skates well enough. I believe on a great group, you’re going to get the most out of him on the wing.”
According to his player page at EliteProspects:
- Holloway consistently uses pressure on the backcheck, pickpockets puck-carriers, makes timely hits, wields a disruptive stick– you call it. He never ever gets away the zone early and is a capable east-west aggressor who shields the puck from opposing protectors really well.
In coworker David Staples’ draft preview 2 pundits nailed Holloway at #14, consisting of Guillaume Lepage:
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- The Oilers are frequently slammed for not having enough depth behind star forwards Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, which is why they may select Holloway, a powerful center with high-end offending skills and an excellent skating ability.
Corey Pronman of The Athletic likewise tagged Holloway in a mock draft, adding this commentary(and more) over at The Athletic(paywall warning):
- In Holloway, the Oilers get a top-end professional athlete. He’s a center with terrific speed and strength who can bulldoze his method past challengers. I think he’s really experienced, however the amount of offense he brings is the argument point. I personally see a second-line forward, unsure if a center or a wing, who can assist a group and bring various elements to a few of the more extremely skilled people in Edmonton’s top-six.
Pronman’s colleague Scott Wheeler composed a comprehensive feature on the gamer, including this introduction:
- After winning the AJHL’s a lot of valuable gamer award a full year prior to his NHL draft year, Holloway was enabled to play college hockey as an 18- year-old. He was one of just 2 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 hit his stride. When I existed in the middle of February, he was the very best gamer for the disappointing Badgers across their two-game set with top-ranked Penn State, with points on 3 of their six goals.
Sam Cosentino of Sportsnet writes:
- A difficult year for the second-youngest gamer in the NCAA, Holloway started to find his stride in February, and finished the year strong in Wisconsin. An effective, rapid skater, Holloway likes to get in on the forecheck and finish his hits. There’s a likeable level of grease to his game and there should be lots of space for him to return to what made him the CJHL Player of the Year in 2019.
Holloway is not a gamer who takes faster ways. He plays in direct lines and is not scared to take the puck to the internet. There’s plenty of brains to accompany the braun. Holloway is tough to deal with one-on-one not even if of his speed, however due to the fact that of good hands and stick skills. He ranks out as a modern-day power forward.
A few highlights of Holloway in action here:
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