Edmonton Oilers used their #14 overall choice to resolve their greatest 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 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 second youngest gamer in NCAA last season, in which he produced relatively modest overalls of 8-9-17 in 35 video games.
The Oilers were simply outside this year’s top tier of 12 or 13 players, with nobody above them making a reach choice. 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 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 picks (# 5 and #15 respectively) from the 2019 Draft. One result 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. 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 at the same time.
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Let’s get some intel from people who have actually seen him play. These are excerpts from longer reports, though I will caution that some may lag paywalls.
Steve Kournianos, The Draft Analyst supplies this evaluation:
- 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 prior to beginning 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; work as a playmaker or finish around the web; and most importantly, be matched up against opposing top gamers … Holloway is a hound off the puck who regularly uses pressure with physicality, particularly on the charge kill. He gets involved on the forecheck and develops 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 an effective stride and above-average straight-line speed. His primary step fasts, and he can make instant directional modifications, tight turns, and pivot on a cent while moving at top speed, all while keeping control of the puck during these tough maneuvers. His skating most certainly is a strong suit, and his escapability along the boards while taking tough shoves exposes his elite balance.
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Grant McCagg of Recrutes describes him:
- Holloway … is among those uncommon NCAA freshmen playing in his draft year, and while his point overall stopped working to turn on scouts, there were signs in the 2nd half that his offense was coming … Will he play center in the NHL? Most scouts imagine him on the wing in a physical, two-way role.
The same source pointed out several scouts, with extremely blended viewpoints:
- ” I’m a huge fan. He will play in the NHL. I don’t understand if he’s got a lots of playmaking or scoring capability, however he’s strong, an excellent skater and competitive. He scored 40 in the (AJHL) the year before, so there’s some offense there, and he is a beast physically … I believed he was excellent in the 2nd half. His skating is pro-like already.”
- ” This man might be a third liner or a 4th liner. I do not see him as a top-six person. Clearly, he’s an effective skater … he hasn’t actually showed that he’s a manufacturer.”
- ” He will probably be a winger, but able to fill in some video games at center; he’s smart enough, huge enough and skates all right. I believe on a great team, you’re going to get the most out of him on the wing.”
According to his player page at EliteProspects:
- Holloway regularly applies pressure on the backcheck, pocket pickers 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 shields the puck from opposing defenders really well.
In associate David Staples’ draft sneak peek 2 experts nailed Holloway at #14, including Guillaume Lepage:
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- The Oilers are often criticized for not having enough depth behind star forwards Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, which is why they may pick Holloway, a powerful center with high-end offending abilities and a great skating ability.
Corey Pronman of The Athletic also tagged Holloway in a mock draft, adding this commentary(and more) over at The Athletic(paywall caution):
- In Holloway, the Oilers get a top-end professional athlete. He’s a center with fantastic speed and strength who can bulldoze his way past opponents. I believe he’s very competent, however the amount of offense he brings is the argument point. I personally see a second-line forward, not sure if a center or a wing, who can help a team and bring various elements to a few of the more highly competent men in Edmonton’s top-six.
Pronman’s associate Scott Wheeler wrote a detailed feature on the gamer, including this summary:
- After winning the AJHL’s most important gamer award a complete year prior to his NHL draft year, Holloway was enabled to play college hockey as an 18- year-old. He was one of simply two first-year draft eligibles to play Department I NCAA hockey in 2019-20
Holloway said the decision to leave junior a year earlier was made on the basis of his physical maturity.
As the season advanced, Holloway truly began to strike his stride. When I was there 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 6 objectives.
Sam Cosentino of Sportsnet composes:
- A tough year for the second-youngest gamer in the NCAA, Holloway began to discover his stride in February, and finished the year strong in Wisconsin. A powerful, quick skater, Holloway likes to participate the forecheck and finish his hits. There’s a likeable level of grease to his game and there must be plenty of space for him to get back to what made him the CJHL Player of the Year in 2019.
Holloway is not a player who takes faster ways. He plays in direct lines and is not afraid to take the puck to the net. There’s lots of brains to accompany the braun. Holloway is hard to handle one-on-one not even if of his speed, but due to the fact that of good hands and stick abilities. He ranks out as a modern-day power forward.
A few highlights of Holloway in action here:
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