Edmonton Oilers

Dylan Holloway is building a strong case to make the Oilers roster but is there space?

Dylan Holloway has been shining brightly for the Edmonton Oilers organization since he started playing for the Bakersfield Condors halfway through the 2021–22 season. This has certainly carried over into the 2022 Young Stars tournament in Penticton and now in the preseason. His impressive play has me fairly convinced that he will make the Oilers’ roster come opening night.

Last year’s numbers

Holloway started the 2021–22 season recovering from a second surgery for the scaphoid fracture injury sustained while playing for the University of Wisconsin during 2020–21. Once his recovery was complete, the 6’1″ 203lb prospect was placed in the AHL and during this time, Holloway flourished. He was consistently hard on the back check, applied pressure, created turnovers with his active stick, and was not afraid to throw his weight around when needed.

Not only could he be relied on defensively, he could contribute offensively, getting eight goals and 14 assists for a total of 22 points in 33 games for the Condors. His puck protection and stick handling skills were impressive, making him a threat in the offensive zone.

Now that the offseason has concluded, Holloway has continued to build on his successes from the previous AHL season. During his participation in the Penticton Young Stars tournament, he was like a dog on a bone, scoring many goals, setting up key plays for his linemates, and helping the team go undefeated. Holloway has not slowed down heading into the preseason, being a key player on the penalty kill and tipping a puck passed David Rittich in the Oilers’ first win over the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday night.

Furthering Holloway’s development

If Ken Holland decides not to put Holloway on the NHL roster at the start of the season, I don’t think it would take long for a call–up. For Holloway to stay on the team for the rest of the season, I think it is essential for his development to be playing meaningful minutes and not brought up to play as a fourth liner. It would also be reassuring for head coach Jay Woodcroft if Holloway can help the Oilers on the penalty kill or the second unit powerplay if given a chance.

Implications of the salary cap

I believe there are higher chances that he does make the Oilers lineup not only because he has impressed in the preseason but also for cap–saving reasons. At a $925,000 cap hit until 2023–24, he is a cheaper option for the cap–strapped Oilers heading into this season. Looking at the current roster, I think he would be best suited for a third–line winger roll; however, this does get complicated given the Oiler’s current cap situation.

Let’s look at how Ken Holland could make this happen via trade.

To make the cap work, I traded Warren Foegele and replaced him on the third line with Dylan Holloway; because of Foegele’s numbers last year and the size on his contract, I would guess we get a lowish–round pick for him. This would leave the Oilers with just over $1.5 million, which they could use to sign another depth forward or call up a Bakersfield player like a Brad Malone or Tyler Benson.

Another way Holland could make this work is by sending players through the waiver wire to be placed in the AHL.

This option requires both newly acquired Mattias Janmark and Derek Ryan to be placed on waivers to be assigned to the AHL. This option is not very appealing to me as Janmark was just recently signed and I believe Ryan is still a serviceable NHL player on the third or fourth line. The biggest issue with this option is that these players might not clear the waiver wire and another team could pick them up. This would result in the Oilers losing decent NHL players with nothing in return.

The unlikely caveat

There is still technically the option that the Oilers can run their roster even shorter and go with the 20-man roster. Going with 21 players is already tough enough and is the reality the Oilers face for this coming season. It would be difficult to imagine that Woodcroft would want to employ the 20-man roster for the sake of playing Holloway.

With Holloway’s development, he is reason to think he’s a better depth option than other Oilers, but running an even shorter bench than the Oilers already have to run will be bad news for load management.

Will it happen?

With Holloway’s remarkable previous AHL season and current preseason, he is ready to make the jump to an NHL third–line role now. The biggest issue for him is whether or not Ken Holland can find a way to free up the cap space to get him on the team. The way I see it is if Holland can make a trade, Holloway will be on the team; if he doesn’t make a trade, then I don’t see him risking losing NHL–caliber players to bring him up.


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