Rookie Holloway earning rave reviews with Oilers

Oct 4 2022, 10:50 pm

Dylan Holloway has turned the narrative from “if’ to “where.”

The newly turned 21-year-old prospect has forced his way into top-nine consideration for the Edmonton Oilers less than two months after general manager Ken Holland declared the rookie had to win a regular role in the team’s lineup. 

“He will be in Edmonton if he is in the lineup every night,” Holland told Bob Stauffer on Oilers Now in August. “I don’t want him to be the 13th or 14th forward. In my mind, Dylan Holloway is fighting for one of 12 spots.”

Truth be told, after a strong showing at the Young Stars Classic in Penticton that’s been continued well into training camp, Holloway is instead battling the likes of Kailer Yamamoto and Jesse Puljujarvi for top-six consideration on opening night. 

He’s been that good. 

“I just wanted to play well, I wanted to play my game,” Holloway told Edmonton media just a handful of minutes after recording a hat trick while playing with Leon Draisaitl and Zach Hyman on Monday. “I knew I would have to do something to make the team. I’m just happy with the way things are going, but I have more games coming up.”

More games to leave an impression on the kid dubbed “Hollywood.”

Not that the Calgary, Alberta, product will necessarily need them. 

“I’m very, very happy with what we’ve seen from him,” Draisaitl said Monday.

“It’s just his hockey sense, which comes from his work ethic actually. It allows him to get into good situations and be up on the play. It gives himself an extra second to make a play, which is obviously big if you want to succeed offensively in this league. I’m very, very impressed with what we’ve seen so far.

“In these games, real games, you see a guy’s hockey sense. The way he reads the play, right? That’s what is important. It seems to be there.” 

Holloway is, in many ways, found money for an Oilers club strapped for cash. 

The No. 14 pick in the 2020 NHL Draft could force a fellow forward out of the lineup, or off the roster completely, because of his ability — both on the ice and on the pocketbook. Holloway is slated to earn entry-level cash with a cap hit of around $1.44 million. 

 “The more Dylan plays at this level, the more he feels comfortable and the more he shows his team and coaching staff where he’s at,” Edmonton skipper Jay Woodcroft declared. 

“He’s got the raw materials of an NHL hockey player. He’s big, he’s strong, he has a real good skill set in that he’s a powerful skater. He is feeling fully healthy. He had a rough go there with his injury in his last college game. It’s taken him a while, not only to get back up and running but also to feel better about it and the act of shooting, to feel more comfortable for him. He’s put his work in. I’m happy that he’s having some success here. 

“It seems like he’s getting better each day and that’s what we’re asking our team to do.”

Aaron VickersAaron Vickers

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