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2020 NHL Draft prospect profile: Dylan Holloway’s skill and size combination will see him taken in the first round

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The prospect fits a lot of positive things into a solid frame, but what is his upside?

Dylan Holloway had high expectations entering his first season at the University of Wisconsin, as part of a freshman class that was highly touted. However, he saw his draft stock drop a bit even though he should be expected to be taken in the first round.

Birthplace: Calgary, Alberta
Date of birth: September 23, 2001
Shoots: Left
Position: Centre/Left-Winger
Height: 6’1”
Weight: 203 lbs.
Team: University of Wisconsin (NCAA)

Holloway burst onto the scene at the World Under 18 Championships where he had two goals and two assists in seven games for Canada. That was added to his 40 goals and 48 assists in 53 games for the Okotoks Oilers of the AJHL.

Elite Prospects

In his freshman year at the University of Wisconsin, he had eight goals and nine assists in 35 games where he was among the youngest players in the league.

Strengths

Holloway’s game is well-rounded and a lot of the positives he brings comes from his combination of skill, effort, and smarts. It’s the perfect package that all but assures him of a future in professional hockey.

One of the things that sticks out with Holloway is his ability to create offence on the rush. He’s not the most skilled player offensively, but he’s able to create offence because of his decision making on the rush.

He makes good decisions, and can open things up for his teammates or find space for himself. He’s able to score, and make passes to create offence.

The effort he shows on both sides of the ice is also something that has him ranked highly. He played centre and wing for the Badgers, and he is someone that Tony Granato — and any coach that has him in the future — will be able to count on.

Those two things come together in a physically mature package that projects will to the next level. On top of that his skating can be considered a strength as well. He moves well on the ice, and the underlying mechanics are very sound. There are a lot of things that may hold him back, but the skating is not one of them.

Weaknesses

For as good as the effort is, tracking doesn’t show it to be a strength of his game. While the effort was consistent, he was prone to puck watching. Because of this, and some other factors, he’s likely to be a wing at the next level.

Mitch Brown’s Tracking Project

Holloway also simply doesn’t have the offensive skill set to project him to be a top forward. His puck handling, shot, and offensive talents are inconsistent and with limited upside. He struggled to adapt his offence to the NCAA, which can be expected for any freshman. At the start of the year, he would stay out wide and shoot from areas that weren’t very dangerous.

As the year went on, he did start attacking more dangerous areas as his confidence grew.

While he is seen as a safe pick, there were turnovers that limit some scouts from considering him as a sure thing. His decisions with the puck simply left a lot of room for improvement.

The main problem with Holloway is that while he has a good size profile and his skating is good, he doesn’t have that elite element to his game that many NHL players have. The flip side to that is that he does a lot of things really well and doesn’t really have a glaring weakness.

His skill is not a negative attribute, it’s just that the potential upside is limited and he shouldn’t be expected to lead any team offensively.

Rankings

Elite Prospects: #18
Future Considerations: #17
Hockey Prospect: #29
McKeen’s Hockey: #26
McKenzie/TSN: #16
NHL Central Scouting: #12 (North American skaters)

The problem when looking at Holloway as a first round prospect is the fact that his upside is limited because he will never score at a rate that will turn heads. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing because of everything else that he brings to the table.

He took some time to adjust to the NCAA, and that can be expected since he was one of the younger players in the league. The freshman class that included Holloway, Alex Turcotte, and Canadiens prospect Cole Caufield struggled for the most part, aside from Caufield who led the team in scoring. Despite his size, he often played a smaller style of game. This may be due to the tough adjustment and facing off against players who were several years older than him.

With Turcotte signing his entry-level contract and other players graduating, that could mean that Holloway will get an opportunity to play a bigger role with a year of experience under his belt. That is, if there is an NCAA season this year. Holloway would likely be a player who would be considered to play with Caufield, but the longer the season is delayed, the more possibility that Caufield will be leaving the team as well.

A team that takes Holloway in the first round will do so because of his combination of size and skill. It’s definitely something that can be projected to play in the NHL, but any team looking for an offensive talent that will score should look elsewhere.

His upside is a middle-six forward, and he can provide some versatility as he can play both centre and wing. However, it is likely he will need to settle in on the wing at the professional level.

Normally a player like Holloway with little risk, and likely to make an impact in the NHL would be a player many teams would be fine with on the draft’s opening night. The issue is that in this draft being a player who tops out in the middle of the lineup will end up moving down draft boards because of the depth of the class.