Leafs Give Holland a Chance With Coyotes

Peter Holland’s time with the Toronto Maple Leafs has come to an end. Holland has been with the Leafs for four seasons after coming over in a trade with the Anaheim Ducks in 2013. Since then Holland has played in a variety of roles for the Leafs with significant time on both the power play and penalty kill.

Holland has struggled to earn ice-time this season, which has resulted in him only playing eight games with the Leafs. After talking to both Holland and his agent, the Leafs agreed to try and trade Holland. On Friday the Leafs traded Holland to the Arizona Coyotes for a conditional 2018 sixth-round draft pick.


All About Ice-Time

At the end of the day, this trade came down to ice-time.

For whatever reason, coach Mike Babcock lost any love he had for Holland’s game and benched him most of the season. What makes this confusing is that Babcock had all of last season to coach Holland and didn’t have a problem with his play during that time. Then the summer rolled around.

At that point it looked like Holland would be pushed out of the lineup with all the rookies expecting to break into the NHL. So it was puzzling when the Leafs signed Holland to a one-year $1.3 million deal. The signing made no sense when it was obvious that Holland would be pushed further down the Leafs’ depth chart and, knowing now, that Babcock had no intention of playing him.

In eight games with the Leafs, Holland had just one assist and an average of 10:43 minutes of ice-time per game. Holland had some time on the special teams with 5:27 minutes on the penalty kill and  6:29 minutes on the power play.

Holland had been a consistent contributor on the third and fourth line for the Leafs. Going back to the 2014-15 season shows how much Holland was relied on. In 62 games Holland had 25 points and an average ice-time per game of 14:31 minutes. Holland had the second most time on the penalty kill with 105:13 minutes, but only 69:03 minutes on the power play.

Peter Holland (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)
Peter Holland (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Then last season, under Babcock, Holland finished with 27 points in 65 games and an average ice-time of 14:39 minutes. Holland’s usage on special teams did a complete switch with only 19:18 minutes on the penalty kill and a staggering 161:17 minutes on the power play. Holland had the fourth highest amount of power play minutes on the Leafs and was tied for third most power play points with 11 points.

Holland’s power play minutes were higher than they probably would’ve been due to the Leafs trading away a couple of players and sustaining a number of injuries.

After looking at Holland’s usage over three seasons, it’s clear that he is a versatile player that can play in many roles. The problem for him has been that he is just okay at filling those roles, not bad, but nothing noteworthy either.

A Future in the Desert?

For the rest of the season, Holland will need to impress his new team to stay in the NHL. Luckily for Holland, the Coyotes are in desperate need of another center that can play anywhere in the bottom six. The Coyotes are very thin up the middle and would benefit from having Holland center the third or fourth line.

The odds of Holland staying with the Coyotes into next season are slim just based on the conditions on the 2018 sixth round pick. If the Coyotes don’t re-sign Holland at the end of the season then they won’t have to give up a draft pick to the Leafs. This means that he will need to be fantastic in order for the Coyotes to feel the need to keep him at the cost of a late round pick.

Leafs’ fans won’t have to wait long to see how Holland is doing with the Coyotes, since the two teams play each other this Thursday in Toronto and then the week after on Friday in Arizona. Maybe then he will have a chance to show Babcock why he deserved more ice-time.