Dom Lunardo | June 13th, 2020
With the NHL Draft Lottery just over two weeks away, today’s article examines one of the best young European skaters. His name is Alexander Holtz. Born and raised in the “hockey hotbed” of Stockholm, Holtz is destined to follow in the footsteps of some past Swedish greats. Niklas Kronwall, Mika Zibanejad, and Michael Nylander are just some of the many players from Stockholm, who have plied their trade in the National Hockey League. Holtz will surely be the next. So just how good of a player is Holtz, and what kind of impact can we expect the dynamic, “Super Swede” to have in the NHL?
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Team: Djurgardens IF, Swedish Hockey League, (SHL)
2020 Draft Prospect Ranking (Central Scouting): 2nd Amongst European Skaters
Scoring and Production
From 2017-2019, Holtz suited up for Djurgardens IF (U-20 team) and put up some stellar numbers. In 52 games played, Holtz had 41 goals and 23 assists for 64 points. On many nights, he was quite simply the single-best player on the ice. At such a young age, many “in the know” across the hockey landscape knew that something was brewing.
This past year saw Holtz make the jump to the senior men’s team as a 17-year-old. In 35 games, Holtz tallied 9 goals and 16 points to go along with a -1 rating. Although the numbers don’t exactly jump from the page, keep in mind that this is a teenager playing in a professional men’s league. Every night Holtz is going up against opponents five to twelve years his senior. Looking back, Holtz opted to stay close to home to kickstart his hockey career. He decided to stay in Sweden as opposed to one of the major professional junior leagues in Canada or the collegiate route in the U.S.
Against players (closer to) his age in a best-on-best, Holtz did not disappoint. In 7 games with Sweden, Holtz tallied five points in seven games at the 2020 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships. He along with fellow draft-eligible forward, Lucas Raymond were standout players for the Swedes al tournament long. Holtz tallied seven points with Sweden’s U-18 team at the 2019 Hlinka Gretzky Cup. In just a few short seasons, he’s become one of the most promising young talents to hail from Scandanavia. Holtz’s next road, however, is on a collision course with the National Hockey League.
What the Scouts See
Holtz certainly has a lot going for him as a prospective NHL player. His extensive skill set has helped him become one of the most intriguing prospects at this year’s draft. Like most Swedes, Holtz thinks the game at a very high level. He knows where to be on the ice, and can finish plays. Holtz can be described more as a set-up man rather than a pure goal-scorer. However, he still carries the propensity to “light the lamp”. His on-ice vision, release, and passing ability are also well above-average for an 18-year-old. Scouts have raved about his ability in tight spaces, and how he wiggles out of trouble in all three zones. Holtz himself takes a lot of pride in being responsible and playing a complete game. This should place him in good stead with the smaller rinks typical of NHL venues all across North America.
Leading up to the all-important draft, several NHL clubs have already reached out to the promising young Swede. Whether through a “Zoom” call or online chat, Holtz is becoming more and more comfortable at what life will be like in the National Hockey League. Teams have inquired about his strengths, weaknesses, and how he will adapt to the North American game. Holtz admits that he would like to add some more muscle and size (currently standing at 6’0, 180 pounds). Quite typical of many young players.
At this present moment in time, there is no set date for the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. The COVID-19 pandemic revamped the sports world in ways that no one could have ever imagined. When the draft finally arrives, look for Holtz to be selected in the top-10. The Swedish phenom has the hands, drive to succeed, and the ability to score and make plays. In such a deep draft, Holtz has only increased his stock as a player in Sweden and on the world stage. One final question begs…who will be the lucky team that secures his services?
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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images