The Edmonton Oilers have wrapped up their preseason and are set to play their season opener on October 12, starting a six-game homestand to open up 2022–23. The expectations of the team are as high as ever, but one prospect has made a name for himself during the offseason and now preseason.
Dylan Holloway has caught the attention of many around the league and has been outright one of the best Oilers as of late, prospect or not. He finished the preseason with a team-leading four goals which included a hat trick. With all the momentum on his side, how many goals will he score in the regular season? We asked, you answered.
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Holloway’s recent rise
Holloway has been a standout in the preseason. That much is undeniable. Now that the Oilers transition to the regulars season, his role on the team will look a bit different with fewer minutes until they’re earned. After leading the team as the only player—defencemen included—to play over 90 minutes of preseason hockey, Holloway has put himself in the best position to succeed.
If he maintains a middle-six role with the team, there’s no telling what his limit is. So on that note, what do folks think of his possible output this season?
Holloway’s time is now
Selected 14th overall in the 2020 NHL Draft, Holloway wrapped up his short two-year NCAA career with a showing of 11 goals and 24 assists with the University of Wisconsin. In 2021–22, he played with the Bakersfield Condors, featuring in 33 games. He was good for eight goals and 14 assists last year, and made a playoff appearance with the Oilers in Game 4 against the Colorado Avalanche.
Now, his sights are set on taking the next step and becoming a full-time NHLer. While not the most prolific scorer (his best goal output ever was a 40-goal campaign over 53 games in the AJHL with the Okotoks Oilers in 2018–19), his offensive tenacity has shown marked improvements with each passing day.
Holloway’s four preseason goals puts him in a six-way tie for second, with only the Columbus Blue Jackets’ Yegor Chinakhov scoring more with five. While the preseason isn’t a place to push all your chips in on a player, Holloway’s also showing a high shot volume, being tied for first among all skater with the Calgary Flames’ unsigned Michael Stone. Both players put up 18 shots.
What Holloway can achieve
With Holloway’s outstanding showing in the preseason, what he has working in his favour is momentum. Hockey can be a game of hot and cold, and right now Holloway is hot. He could easily chip in a few goals right off the get go and find a new offensive gear he hasn’t reached before.
As mentioned, his NCAA career saw two seasons with eight and 11 goals, respectively; and his AHL stint saw eight. All of these outputs were across limited games: 35, 23, 33. So now the projection on Holloway depends on a series of questions:
- How many NHL games will he play this season?
- How will head coach Jay Woodcroft utilise him?
- Who will be his most regular linemates?
- Can he keep up his scoring pace against the toughest competition he’s ever faced?
All of these questions will only be answered in due time, but right now it is wholly possible that Holloway will have a bigger impact on the Oilers’ success this season than initially expected.
Most votes have him clocking in a very respectable 11–20 goals. If he hits that range, that’d be an achievement in its own right.
However, some voters have him performing better—essentially answering every question above with the best case scenarios. This could potentially lead to potentially a 20+ goal campaign, or even a 30+ goals. Holloway’s in a spot where he is indeed primed to play the most hockey of his career, so if he’s able to put it together, it’s not out of the question at all.
Lastly, the group of voters who have the most tampered expectations on him—seeing him reach no more than ten goals—are small in size. It’s fair to be cautiously optimistic until proven otherwise—and being wrong by underrating an Oilers player is not a bad thing to be wrong at.
Holloway’s turning heads
All in all, the Oilers have a great prospect in Holloway, and he’s shown year over year that he’s ready to elevate his game. Now that he’s knocking at the door of an NHL career, he’ll have a great opportunity to prove himself.
Should he immediately breakout, that’s nothing but good news for Edmonton. However, if he’s slow to start, there’s no denying that his developmental pace has been fantastic, and exercising a little more patience on him can’t hurt either. Let’s see what he can do.
How are you feeling about Dylan Holloway after the preseason? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter @oilrigEDM.