Peter Holland Has One Year to Prove Himself

Peter Holland’s time with the Toronto Maple Leafs seemed to be coming to an end. At the 2016 NHL Draft, it looked likely that Holland would be traded off for some low round draft picks, but that never happened. Now, during the offseason, it seemed like Holland wouldn’t be re-signed.

Even though it seemed like a certainty that Holland would be with a different team by now, the Leafs surprised everyone (including myself) by re-signing Holland to a one-year deal. Holland will have one year to prove himself and will have to be a standout player in the Leafs’ bottom six.

The Contract

The Toronto Maple Leafs re-signed Holland to a one-year, $1.3 million deal, which was just in time to avoid arbitration.

The price might be more than Holland is worth to the Leafs at the moment, but the advantage for the Leafs is the contract is only for one year.

The benefit of this deal for the Leafs is that it gives them options when deciding what to do with Holland. If the Leafs decide to re-sign him again next season, they will still have the advantage in negotiations because Holland will still be a restricted free agent. The other advantage is that this is a very tradable contract since it’s only for one year and the salary is low enough that any playoff contending team could take it.

The only issue with this contract is finding a spot in the Leafs’ lineup for Holland.

Where Does Peter Holland Fit?

The Maple Leafs currently have an excessive amount of players able to fill roles in the bottom six of the lineup and Holland needs to somehow earn a spot.

Holland will be forced to play on the wing, despite normally being a center, since the four spots at center are going to be filled by Nazem Kadri, Tyler Bozak, Auston Matthews and presumably Brooks Laich. Then there’s William Nylander and Mitch Marner, who are both competing for spots on the right-wing, but can also play center.

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

So Holland’s only option is to play on the wing, but that’s even more crowded than center. On the left-wing the Leafs have James van Riemsdyk, Joffrey Lupul (assuming he’s healthy), Milan Michalek, Colin Greening and Matt Martin. Then the Leafs have more players just competing to make the NHL with Zach Hyman, Josh Leivo, Kerby Rychel, Nikita Soshnikov and Connor Brown.

Now, even though each of those players have their own preferred position, it doesn’t really matter when they are competing to just make the team. These are all the players that could take spots on the Leafs’ left wing and adding Holland into that list doesn’t give me much optimism on his chances of making the team.

Possibly a Trade Coming?

With the amount of players that the Maple Leafs have that could play in the NHL this upcoming season, it wouldn’t be surprising if they traded a few players before the start of the season. Maybe they will try offloading some contracts in Lupul and Michalek or maybe just trade Holland.

Regardless, the Leafs will need to make some decisions on their roster soon as we are a bit more than a month away from the start of training camp and two months away from the start of the season. Holland will have very little time and few opportunities to prove that he deserves to be in the Leafs’ lineup this season.