Photo Credit: Igor Ljevak/Swedish Ice Hockey Association
This past season, Alexander Holtz spent the bulk of his season in the SHL with Djurgårdens IF. In 35 games played at the SHL level, Holtz tallied nine goals and seven assists. He also played in three games in the SuperElit with Djurgårdens IF J20, in which he tallied an impressive seven goals and two assists. He also played in 24 games for Sweden U20 at the World Junior Championships and various international tournaments including the Hlinka-Gretzky cup.
Like fellow Swedish draft eligibles who played in the SHL this season, he was not getting consistent ice time. Sure there were some games in which Holtz logged more than 16 minutes a night, but those were not the norm. As we have stated in a few other reports, such as the Lucas Raymond and Noel Gunler posts, this is a common theme for 17-18 year olds playing in the SHL.
D.O.B – January 23, 2002
Nationality – Sweden
Draft Eligibility – 2020
Weight –183 lbs
Position – Right Wing
Handedness – Right
Holtz’s Style Of Play
If you have been following and reading about 2020 NHL Draft eligible prospects, you probably have heard a decent amount of analysts and scouts rave about Holtz’s shot. But, just saying that Holtz has a fantastic shot does not do enough justice.
The Saltsjö-Boo, Sweden native has soft hands, a light quick release and excellent range. In the shot map below (from InStat Hockey), you can check out Holtz’s shooting range.
As you can see from the screenshot, Holtz find success from all over the offensive zone. While a plethora of his goals come from the slot, he has managed to score plenty of goals from just outside the faceoff dots.
Not only does Holtz embody strong shooting range, but he can pick corners with precision. Holtz can find the smallest gaps and still succeed.
Let’s move to Holtz’s passing ability. He is strong tape-to-tape passer, but he does have moments where he can pull off some flashier passes. For example, when Holtz has a man on him in the offensive zone and his opponent is applying tight pressure, Holtz will opt to complete a behind the back pass along the boards to get the puck into a teammate’s hands. In addition, when completing a zone entry and the goal is to get the puck to the blue-line and give his defender plenty of space, Holtz will look to complete a behind the back swing pass.
The only area in the offensive zone, in which Holtz should look to improve is his forechecking. While Holtz does forecheck, he does not often follow through and the pressure is not as strong as other draft eligible prospects like Gunler or Tyson Foerster. In fact, in the games that InStat Hockey has tracked challenges, Holtz does not win his challenges too often. In most games, the amount of challenges won is roughly 30 to 35 percent.
The other area in Holtz’s play that needs to be addressed is his puck control. While there are moments where he displays quality puck-handling and swings the puck around his opponent in the neutral zone, there are decent amount of rushes in which Holtz will lose control of the puck.
In the defensive zone, Holtz plays more of a conservative game. He will alternate between the slot and the blue-line. Holtz will use his strong backwards skating and crosses to constantly move along the slot when the cycle is running on the left or right of the ice surface. He is not the strongest defensive forward and he seems to be well aware of that. Instead of attempting to back-check along the boards, he patrols center ice to eliminate centered passes and will quickly move to the blue-line when a defenseman has the puck at the point.
Last but not least, let’s touch on his skating. Holtz is not the fastest skater on the ice, but he does have a wide stride and will more than likely improve his speed over time. But, Holtz’s calling card is his crosses. When Holtz is deploying crossovers, you can expect them to be quick and well-balanced.
Alex Ovechkin, Left Wing, Washington Capitals
Anytime that you compare a prospect to a nine time Rocket Richard award winner, you will get a lot of questions. To avoid those questions, I just want to point out that Holtz’s playing style reminds me of Ovechkin. I do not believe that his ceiling will be near Ovechkin’s, but it could happen. In terms of his playing style, Holtz’ shot in the slot and across the offensive zone just reminds me of Ovechkin. Also, Ovechkin is not the strongest defensive forward, but like Holtz, he is well-aware of that and plays more of an insurance/conservative role.
stats from InStat Hockey and EliteProspects
Prospect report written by Josh Tessler. If you would like to follow Josh on Twitter, his handle is @JoshTessler_.
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