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Abel to Yzerman

Picking Alexander Holtz At #4

from Max Bultman of The Athletic,

In Alexander Holtz’s first season with the Djurgårdens IF hockey organization in Sweden, he could not be stopped.

Fourteen goals in five games in the U16 SM league. Twenty-three in 17 in the J18 Elit. Eighteen in 13 in the J18 Allsvenskan. Even in the SuperElit, a U20 league, Holtz scored four goals (and added four assists) in 11 games. This was the 2017-18 season, and Holtz didn’t turn 16 until midway through the campaign.

“He had that ability to just score, from anywhere,” Djurgårdens general manager Joakim Eriksson said recently. “Score — percentage-wise, of the chances he created — on a much, much higher level than all the others.”

That, in a nutshell, is Holtz, one of the very best goal-scorers available in this fall’s NHL Draft.

continued (paid sub.)

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Hippy Dave's avatar

Man he is quite the sniper!  Looks like he’s got good mobility but not much playmaking skill.

Posted by Hippy Dave from Somewhere West of Detroit on 07/16/20 at 02:44 PM ET

damndog revenge   From the bowels of Detroit's avatar

Thanks for the YouTube link Dave! Good stuff!

Posted by damndog revenge From the bowels of Detroit on 07/16/20 at 03:19 PM ET


That’s a nasty shot.

Solid size, good skater, good release in motion,
and from all over the ice, competitive, high-effort..

I’d like to think we have a lot of these things in Zadina.

If we were picking a bit later (don’t let the NHL brass hear that)
and didn’t need a top-pairing D and center so much…

Posted by lefty.30 on 07/16/20 at 04:01 PM ET


Thats the thing Lefty.  We so desperately need more depth at C in our prospects (not to mention a legit #1 C) and at D… that unless they are a stuperstar winger like Laferniere might be… we can’t take a W.  If they believe Holtz is a top 5 winger potential, then sure, if not… HAVE to go C or Drysdale I would think

Posted by DieByTheWing on 07/17/20 at 01:48 PM ET

d ca's avatar

Thats the thing Lefty.  We so desperately need more depth at C in our prospects (not to mention a legit #1 C) and at D… that unless they are a stuperstar winger like Laferniere might be… we can’t take a W.  If they believe Holtz is a top 5 winger potential, then sure, if not… HAVE to go C or Drysdale I would think

Posted by DieByTheWing on 07/17/20 at 01:48 PM ET

Okay what am I missing:
#1 centre: Larkin (age 24 in a few days)
#2 centre: Veleno (age 20.5)
#3 centre: Rasmussen (age 21) Rasmussen is going to be a center
#4 centre: Nielsen since their stuck with the KH contract for 2 more years.
throw in Glendening to temporarily fill a centre role over the next 2 years and there’s the depth.

You believe Larkin is not a #1 centre, fine that’s debatable. But not being able to take a winger because you need more depth when they have 3x 1st round draft picks that were centres under the age of 25? I don’t follow the logic other than you can convert a centre to a winger easier than the other way around.

Any of these Tier 3 guys the Wings are looking at including Holtz is not an off the wall pick. The Wings aren’t good enough to try get cute and draft for need alone.

You take the best player on the board at 4….not one that you think your organization is lacking depth at.


Posted by d ca on 07/17/20 at 04:44 PM ET


I say that because you don’t have depth.  If you think Veleno and Rasmusen are sure fire top 2 C’s that can compete with Stanley cup contender top 2 centers…. then sure.  Take Holtz.  But right now, jury is still out on both of those.  If either, or both of those guys, don’t turn out as you hope…. then what? 

Larkin is a lower tier #1 C.  I’m not sure you win a Stanley cup with Larkin as your number one C.  The only way you do that, is if you have strength of depth and compete.  The aka Boston model.  I can put Larkin in the Bergeron mold so to speak on a contending team, with good enough wingers. 

Teams that win the cup have Depth down the middle and great D.  There are a handful of wingers that can drive a stanley cup team, or even make a line better for that matter.

So I stand by that jury is out on Veleno and Ras…. Larkin is definitely a conversation if he’s a good enough top line C, so unless you think Holtz is a tier (not a bit, a big jump) above the top C’s available or Drysdale, I think the choice is easy.  If you think Ras or Veleno are sure fire #1 or even #2 C’s, then you can compare at more even level and take the guy you like. 

Not saying I’m right, just my two cents on how I’d approach it.  Already Ras is sounding more and more like a Staal at best, a good 3rd line C whom can contribute on the PP.  I hope that isn’t true because I was a defender of taking him when they did.  But if it is. Then all your eggs are in the Veleno basket.  I’d rather have some more kicks at the can at C because I deem it so important to a contending team.

I also agree with your notion of taking the best player, but if it’s significantly better.  If Holtz is 1a and Perfetti is 1b.  You take B.  That’s all Im saying.  He better be a significantly better player (internal projection obviously) to make that choice.

You do have to be careful not to overvalue the position.  Obviously. That happens quite a bit.  But from everything I’ve heard, these guys are all fairly equal, have pros/cons, so I take a C in that is all Im saying.

Posted by DieByTheWing on 07/17/20 at 05:16 PM ET


Man I hope Veleno and Rasmussen pan out.

Too early to tell. Big difference between spending 1st round picks
on players and getting what you hope to from them, best case

Is Rasmussen going to be able to truly be a defensive
shutdown center and PP netfront guy? I could actually
see the latter, at least second unit. And a guy with good
hands to go with the big body in front of the net in general, sure.
But Jordan Staal is really good at what he does. Rasmussen was
slowed by injury and of course we don’t know yet how this season will
go and if a league below the NHL level will still be best for him and what will be viable.

Veleno is surely at least a full sub-NHL season away from knowing
what he might be at the NHL level. Was it truly a big error by several teams
that he dropped to the bottom of the first? Or was it because he may be an NHL player but not a top-two line player?

Another way of looking at the idea that it’s easier for a center to play wing
than the reverse, is that a lot of guys who are projected as centers end up having
to play wing, because center in the NHL is just plain asking a lot, especially if you
want offense from that player.

Posted by lefty.30 on 07/17/20 at 06:02 PM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

This is a top 5 pick, Yzerman needs to and will pick the best player with the highest ceiling no matter where he lines up.

Besides, we’re just not in a 1 position of need place in our curve anyway, we could use elite talent no matter where they fit.  We’re going to be picking top 10 at least, top 5 likely again next season, and will have cap space before we return to real competitiveness to pay for talent to fill 2C if needed.

As far as Veleno and Rasmussen, both are destined for Grand Rapids next season, and belong there in their development. You certainly hope they develop into legit centers, but in no way shape or form can you count on that.  It would be different if both had proven themselves to be ready next season for the NHL, and where they will land from a line perspective 1 to 4 was in question.


Posted by MurrayChadwick from YzerGod's pixie dust fueled bandwagon on 07/18/20 at 01:31 PM ET

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Welcome to Abel to Yzerman, a Red Wing blog since 1977.  No other site on the internet has better-researched, fact-laden and better prepared discussions than A2Y.  Re-phrase: we do little research, find facts and stats highly overrated and claim little to no preparation.  There are 19 readers of A2Y. No more, no less. All of them, except maybe one, are juvenile in nature.  Reminding them of that in the comment section will only encourage them to prove that. Your suggestions and critiques are welcome: wphoulihan@gmail.com