Developing Alexander Holtz
One of the first things most people associate with any young prospect is simply “who, what, where, when, and why you develop a player?” First off The New Jersey Devils are very cautious versus the Montreal Canadiens in developing certain players. First of the “who” is Alexander Holtz of the Utica Comets who was rightfully beaten out by another stud forward in Dawson Mercer. Where is Alexander being developed he is being developed as a player under Coach Kevin Dineen’s supervision and has worked with players from U-18’s and older for Canada along with coaching stints in the AHL and NHL level. When will Alexander Holtz come up?
A fair guess would likely be between November and March because anything can happen between injuries, personal issues, covid-19, certain players not performing or a trade happening.
Why hasn’t Alexander Holtz not been called up? Well, the situation is you already have a multipurpose forward in Dawson Mercer who can play both the center and wing position on lines 2 and 3 at the NHL level. New Jersey Devils General Manager, Tom Fitzgerald believes it’s better to cook a guy a little longer than to rush a player. We have seen teams take their top selections from an NHL Draft where that player hasn’t gelled or bloomed at the NHL level. A perfect example of that was Montreal sending down Cole Caufield.
Comparing Caufield to Holtz’s situation, if Montreal was wise they should’ve been tougher in their preseason camp with their cuts, and who they would send to Laval before the start of the year. Had Montreal and their General Manager, Marc Bergevin played his cards right he should’ve let Caufield fight for his spot to win. Now he’s getting his repetitions in Laval to try to find his stride to play in the NHL.
Alexander Holtz has 5 goals in 4 games already and is currently locked in like a mad man on a mission to prove himself that he will play big minutes someday soon in a Devils uniform. It’s not gonna be very easy for Alex to get that call up until someone on the Devils wings gets pretty cold points-wise.
Coaching & Lineup Chemistry
Coach Lindy Ruff isn’t afraid to hold his players accountable whether it is a Jesper Bratt or a Yegor Sharangovich from recent games where they slacked off in losses to the Washington Capitals, and the Calgary Flames. Lindy Ruff has been firing up the flames under key players’ butts to get them kicked back up in the game and the next. What Alexander Holtz will be working with on his line might be with Andreas Johnsson- Dawson Mercer- Alexander Holtz line combo. It would be a line of two Swedish speakers and an anglophone from Newfoundland.
A combo of Johnsson, Mercer, and Holtz would bring a nice finisher on the left side with creativity, and a very persistent center in Dawson Mercer. Alexander brings that super-accurate yet very lethal shot that is phenomenal. For those who remember the Alexander Holtz draft class his fellow teammate, William Eklund got drafted recently who played at the World Juniors for Sweden.
Holtz whether with Eklund or whoever he plays with just sets him up for that open space or even with traffic, Holtz will use that traffic as a screen like a lot of past successful NHL-caliber snipers. The Devils have a lot of time and patience not to open up the next fresh bag of coffee beans to grind before it needs to be extracted to enjoy that excellent product in Holtz.
If Holtz is called up at the right time and can do his thing at the NHL level terrorizing NHL defences and goaltenders he’ll be another fan favourite in the present New Jersey Devils and the NHL can’t deny having on the biggest pro hockey stage for many seasons to come. Not to compare him to any of the past big-time shooters on the New Jersey Devils but his wrist and snapshots are very much like former Devils sniper Ilya Kovalchuk. Just having seen Holtz from his AHL, SHL, World Juniors, and pre-season film, it won’t take fans long to start buying Alexander Holtz merchandise when he gets called up and has succeeded where more fans are watching the Devils and begin to marvel over his production.
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