Expect the Edmonton Oilers to give Dylan Holloway a look on the main roster here in the next couple of weeks. Daniel Nugent-Bowman of The Athletic is reporting that a source close to him advised that the Oilers are seriously thinking about calling Holloway up to play a few games before the end of the regular season, the hope being that he’ll offer some scoring punch in a top-nine role.
When asked by a fan in a mailbag segment what the future might hold for Holloway this season, Nugent-Bowman writes:
I doubt he’s going to spend the rest of the season with AHL Bakersfield. In fact, a team source told me recently that it’s very likely we’ll see Holloway get an audition with the big club before the end of the season. One of the biggest holdups, I was told, is that the Oilers are being especially cognizant of the post-deadline limit of four regular recalls from the minors. So, while Holloway playing for the Oilers is not set in stone, expect it to happen. Of course, that would be dependent on his health, and Holloway missed Bakersfield’s game Friday night with an injury.source – ‘Dylan Holloway call-up? Jay Woodcroft extension? Zack Kassian trade? Oilers mailbag’ – Daniel Nugent-Bowman – The Athletic – 04/09/2022
Holloway has had a strong season with the Bakersfield Condors this season. He started hot when he first arrived, cooled off a bit and has since gotten hot again with multiple points in his last few games. He’s now sitting at eight goals and 21 points in 32 games.
Allan Mitchell of The Athletic adds:
Ideally, the Oilers would like to see him post a point-per-game offence at 20 before being elevated to the NHL, but Philip Broberg (also 20) played NHL games this season and Holloway is an exceptional AHL player right now.source – ‘Lowetide: Finding Ryan Nugent-Hopkins’ wingers elusive challenge for Oilers’ – Allan Mithcell – 04/06/2022
A Better Winger For Nugent-Hopkins?
Both Mitchell and Nugent-Bowman point out that the Oilers are looking for someone who can mesh well with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. While Nuge is getting time on the power play and doing an excellent job on the penalty kill, he’s centering the third line most nights and the Oilers would like to find him a skilled winger that can help elevate his offensive game.
Both Nugent-Hopkins and Holloway are responsible defensively, but both are also gifted offensively. The idea here would be to have them out against some of the opposition’s weaker defensive pairings and if a player like Zach Hyman or Jesse Puljujarvi was the third in that trio (someone who was dogged on the forecheck), that third line could do some real damage.
Who Would Holloway Replace?
The linemates head coach Jay Woodcroft is giving Nugent-Hopkins just aren’t getting it done, at least not consistently. There’s been some success at key points in games but the pressure hasn’t been sustained and the Oilers would like to find something a bit more reliable.
For example, Josh Archibald is only playing half of the games and even when he’s in, he’s not doing a whole lot. Derek Ryan and Warren Foegele have been effective in spurts but not incredibly consistent. Speaking of consistency, Zack Kassian offers none whatsoever and that’s an issue the Oilers are trying to solve down the stretch. Derick Brassard clicked early, but it might be a lot to ask him to continue producing in a top-nine role.
Some of these players would get bumped down to the fourth line. If Holloway comes in and has a successful audition, a couple of these players might have a harder time getting back into the lineup. All (with the exception of Ryan and Foegele) are questionable when it comes to being on the team next season.
Holloway could be getting the chance this year, not just to show what he can do in a limited run and potentially a playoff series, but in a much larger role for next season. If he shows well, the Oilers might be able to plan their offseason, in part, around him.
Jim Parsons is a senior THW freelance writer, part-time journalist and audio/video host who lives, eats, sleeps and breathes NHL news and rumors, while also writing features on the Edmonton Oilers. He’s been a trusted source for five-plus years at The Hockey Writers, but more than that, he’s on a mission to keep readers up to date with the latest NHL rumors and trade talk. Jim is a daily must for readers who want to be “in the know.”