One of only two NHL Draft eligible players in the NCAA from last season, Wisconsin Badgers sophomore center/left wing Dylan Holloway was selected with the No. 14 pick by the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday night.
The native of Bragg Creek, Alberta will be returning to his home province once his professional days start which has to make his parents happy, although they were apparently Calgary Flames fans until last night. “Growing up, I definitely cheered for the Flames, but not anymore. My family are no longer Flames fans,” Holloway said when he met with the Edmonton media via Zoom.
Holloway has a versatile skillset that will allow him to play either center or left wing at the next level, but as Todd Milewski of the Wisconsin State Journal notes, he’ll probably end up out wide for Edmonton due to the depth they have down the middle with former No. 1 pick and league MVP Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
Tony Granato told me that Dylan Holloway will play more center this season after playing more LW last year. Guessing Edmonton has him as a LW with the depth it has down the middle in McDavid, Draisaitl and Nugent-Hopkins.— Todd Milewski (@ToddMilewski) October 7, 2020
Our SB Nation NHL friends over at Oilers blog Copper and Blue seem...mildly excited about Holloway. The comment section wasn’t exactly ready to crown their front office as the best in the league, but there are some definite positives to Holloway’s game in their eyes:
Holloway’s got hands and toughness. If you’re gonna draft a tough customer, having skill alongside it is imperative in today’s NHL.
He’s got excellent accuracy with the puck. I can think of a couple of players he can dish the puck to in a couple of years when he’s on the big club.
He’s a top NCAA player selected in this year’s NHL Draft.
The Edmonton Journal has a thorough write-up on the Holloway pick which I recommend to anyone looking for a bunch of scouting takes on Holloway.
At 6-foot-1, 203 lbs, Holloway plays a power forward game. In 2019-20 at UWisconsin he joined a strong freshman class that included fellow teenagers Alex Turcotte and Cole Caufield, both first-round picks (No. 5 and No. 15 respectively) from the 2019 Draft. One result was that Holloway, about eight months younger than both, found himself a bit further down the line-up, which reflected in his so-so offensive numbers. But just 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 in the process.
Lisa Dillman at The Athletic profiled Holloway ($) for the Draft and this quote from him shows how much of a learning curve there was for him last season in Madison.
“It’s just learning how to make plays quicker and knowing what to do with the puck, getting the puck, and situational awareness,” Holloway said. “That was a big thing. I feel like I’m used to it now, so it will definitely help next year.
“My skating improved a lot last year, playing against bigger and faster players. That level of competition just forced me to become a better skater. So I think that helped me quite a bit.”
We at B5Q are excited to watch Holloway play this year for the Badgers and in the coming years for the Oilers.