Position: Stay at home, Shut down, Defense
Height: 6’3 Weight: 205
Regular Season: 67GP, 1G, 19A, +7, PMI 68
Playoffs: 17GP, 1G, 5A, +2, PMI 39
-Holzer does not have breaking speed and at times can get burned to the outside or inside by high-speed forwards, however it is rare due to strong position and ability to read the play.
-Directional Changes, pivots and foot work are what help Holzer keep up his strong defensive play, ability to track and follow opposing forwards closely he rarely gives up space when defending, may come off as slower, but position play makes up for it. Doesn’t overreact.
-Not a defenseman known for his pinching, generally has a head of speed when skating backwards and rare to see him get burned, NHL caliber with his reverse stride.
-Shot is accurate but not overly heavy or quick on the release (goal total good example) can be blocked effectively.
-Seems to know effectiveness of his shot therefore plays puck deep to create cycles and has ability to keep play in the zone. Doesn’t force shot, would rather keep play alive.
-Effective using first past to clear the zone or skating out under pressure, relies on D partner, utilizes D to D passes and doesn’t rush clearing attempts.
-Not at all flashy with puck skills, stays poised and makes timely, simple, well thought out decisions. Rarely seen forcing a play.
-Will never be cast as a fighter but brings a tough streak, wont back down or be pushed around and always comes to the aid of teammates during post whistle scrums etc.
-Works hard night in and night out, shows a sense of maturity that seems to come from being an older prospect, having played 2 NHL games and at the Olympics. Speaks well with the media and appears mature and composed.
-Digs pucks out well and frees up space, pounces on loose pucks
-Although strong on the boards Holzer gets knocked down a bit easier than it seems a player his size should. Could benefit from a bit more core strength.
-Can take a hit to make a play and doesn’t appear shaken up as a result. A Strength in Holzer’s game is separating his man from puck quick and effectively. This helped with a quick Marlies transition game in the 2011/12 season.
-Not a defensive playmaker in the sense that you will never see Holzer lead the rush, true highlight of his game is making his goalies life easier.
-Anticipates the play well, drops back for coverage early and remains in solid position majority of the time.
-Plays below the goal line a little to much at times, would like to see Holzer as more of a net clearing presence; leaning on forwards (D partner was more inclined, coaching?)
-Calm under pressure, usually part of the first shift on ice after scoring or conceding a goal, frequently in starting line-up and mainstay on the PK
-Heavy PK minutes for one of the top units in the AHL all last season. Not overly versatile beyond PK and shutdown D
-Defensive play is Holzer’s strong suit, he reads and reacts very well and controls gaps with persistence giving opposing forwards very little time and space.
-Position is always solid and knows what zone his game belongs in, doesn’t stay to high ever.
-Works the slot well and has an active stick in passing lanes, breaking up plays, especially on the PK
-Ties up opponents effectively but would like to see Holzer clear the crease in a more physical manner to increase effectiveness.
-Speaks well, knows the language and conducts himself as a professional on and off the ice.
-Constant communication with D partner, leads the defensive charge on the ice.
In Conclusion, Holzer cracking the Leafs lineup seemed pretty likely especially when Franson committed to Europe for the entire 2012-13 season and they have very little resembling a true shut down D man on the pro roster. It can’t hurt of he continues to develop in the (talent boosted) AHL for this year, but expect him to get a long look if training camps open. His time is now, just gotta wait for the ink to dry on the new CBA
Feedback, Opinion and Debate always welcome.