Dylan Holloway took to the pre-game skating in Calgary ahead of Game Two on Saturday night, leading many to wonder if he was about to play in his first National Hockey League game.
It was just an inconvenience, as he and Philippe Broberg ended up as late squawks.
“I thought it would be a great experience for them, especially in this building,” said Oilers coach Jay Woodcroft. “We felt they were ready for that, which is why we did it.”
But how close are they to playing in games?
“I think we have a lot of really good players available that we can take advantage of,” Woodcroft said. “Sure, these two are part of that group.”
Dylan Holloway and Philip Broberg joined the Oilers last week during the draws for the Bakersfield Condors. They were part of eight players the team brought up as the Black Ace, and it’s time to think about their positions on the team, which is Holloway.
Holloway joined the Condor team this year and suffered off-season surgery on his thumb. Nevertheless, he appeared in 33 matches in Baku and scored eight goals and 22 points. His season saw some ups and downs, but nothing was expected of a first-year pro player.
Here is some of what the assistant general manager of Oilers and Keith Gretzky, the general manager of Bakersfield Condors, had to say about Holloway in March:
I think the first two games he played was on adrenaline as he was flying in there. I think he hasn’t played hockey in a year. It’s tough, the American Hockey League, you know, your nephew has been there, it’s hard to play. And you play against good hockey players and I think our team (the division) is really hard to play in. In the past two weeks he has started to find his groove. It’s more engaging, it skates better and drives the net, it protects the disc, and you know the last bunch of games, it was really noticeable.
And for us, we’re excited because we see the steps in the right direction and that’s how we look at it. Like we said before, it’s not just about points. If you look at Raphie [Raphael] Lavoie, didn’t score until December 17y And for me it wasn’t just that he wasn’t scoring, it was a whole part of his match – win puck fights 50/50, check back, his speed, check progress, be physical, using his size, drive to the grid – And suddenly 17 . agoy He’s on fire doing all those little things and that’s probably why he’s scoring goals, that’s how I look at it. So, I think when you look at the stats you can be fooled in a way, but with Dylan we’re really happy, he’s really taken another step in the last batch of games like I said, so we’re excited.
Note the bold part of this quote. Those are some of the main areas that Holloway excelled in perfectly during his time in California. While these things grew and flourished in his game, he still had the proper production.
A video clip of Dylan Holloway’s last game with the Condors and probably the last game in the AHL. This game is typical of Holloway in terms of playing it with more scoring success.
Start with his first goal which is a good example of his web design.
– bcurlock (bcurlock) May 15 2022
This final video is sexy. After winning a clean Stockton showdown, Holloway closes in on time and space so quickly that he forces a weak takedown attempt allowing the Condor to reclaim possession. Then he pulls away and shoots from distance on a very good possibility for the goalkeeper with a shot from his wrist.
– bcurlock (bcurlock) May 15 2022
Let’s take a look at some of the other offensive first round picks from the 2020 Draft, where the Oilers finished Holloway 14th overall:
- First, Rangers, Alexis Lavrinier – 135 GP – 31 G – 21 A – 52 points
- 2nd place overall, Kings, Quinton Byfield – 36 GP – 5 G – 6 A -11 PTS
- Third, Senators Tim Stutzel – 132 points – 34 x – 53a – 87 points
- 4th overall, Red Wings, Lucas Raymond – 82 GP – 23g – 35a – 57 points
- Tenth overall, Jets, Cole Perfetti – 18 JP – 2 J – 5 A – 7 points
- 12th overall, Panthers, Anton Lundell – 65 GP – 18g – 26a – 44 points
- 13th overall, Hurricanes, Seth Jarvis – 68 GP – 17 G – 23 A – 40 points
- 18th place, Devils, Dawson Mercer – 82 GP – 17 G – 25 A – 42 PTS
- 21st place, Columbus, Igor Chinakov – 62 GP – 7 G – 7 A – 14 points
Around the league, young strikers are getting their shots in the NHL. The outstanding talent in the draft is evident, with players like Stutzle and Raymond showing impressive offensive production, while men like Lundell, Jarvis and Mercer all play huge roles on their squad.
Post-draft time in Holloway was tough. A broken thumb caused some major problems and likely immediately hampered his chance to play in the NHL.
When you look at the Oilers’ roster from Game Two, there are two players whose time jumped to me on the ice: Zach Cassian, who played a 4:17 low game, and Josh Archibald, who played the second lowest in the game with four:39.
These are supposed to be the two guys the Oilers were supposed to rely on for their last six players. They are meant to be players who can go out, put body, and make physical effects on the game. However, last night – and even in the first game – I could hardly feel their presence on the ice. Simply put, they were not factors.
If the Oilers were to consistently knock out Archibald and Cassian for a few minutes per game, why not see what a guy like Dylan Holloway could do in equal slots? I’d be willing to bet that Holloway would hit as many hits as these guys, or at least, have the same impact on the game as they do.
I find it hard to think that Holloway hasn’t been called into the Oilers forever. As Gretzky mentioned above, he has the tools to be a very effective quarterback, and those tools are ready to move into a full-time place.