Edmonton Oilers

Can Dylan Holloway win the Calder trophy?

The hype train has officially left the station when it comes to Dylan Holloway. One of the few new faces on this roster, Holloway’s upside is equal parts tantalising and unknown as is his potential impact on the Oilers as a whole.

The most optimistic outlook might see Holloway as a viable Calder trophy candidate for the NHL’s Rookie of the Year. Naturally, only time will tell if Holloway is able to reach such heights, but we can still take a look at how likely a Calder win could be.

Holloway’s impact on the ice

After a strong camp, Holloway seems likely to earn some earnest looks in the Oilers top six as the season progresses. Combined with his promising profile as a multi-dimensional forward, the strong pedigree and development since drafted in the 2020 NHL first round, he’s built his resume to a point deserving of our attention and expectation. On his own merit, Holloway has a good chance to be one of the more impactful rookies across the league.

Any consistent time alongside Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl might see Holloway’s impact multiply. By this angle, Holloway’s Calder trophy chances instantly multiplies just the same. Sure, in such a situation some might attribute his successes to his linemates, but ultimately if he is able to be an effective middle six forward, get favourable production with high powered linemates, and play significant minutes for a good team, his Calder candidacy might be quite strong.

Holloway is a good enough skater to challenge opponents all over the ice. He has the speed to get in on the forecheck, the strength to win puck battles and create turnovers, as well as the talent to create dangerous chances for his team. He might find himself a part of both Oilers’ special teams, although only as a secondary option.

Having such an important role if the Calder vote is tight enough to warrant conversations of role and team success means Holloway will have to keep pace with the other top rookies when it comes to offensive production. By this token, Holloway’s Calder legitimacy might be incumbent on a spot beside McDavid or Draisaitl in the Oilers top six.

Sizing up Holloway’s competition

It won’t be Holloway’s contributions alone that will define his Calder chances, as there are a number of highly touted rookies primed to make their mark on the league. Let’s take a look at some of the more favoured candidates.

Matt Beniers

Having already produced near a point per game in his ten game audition at the end of last season, it is not outrageous to suggest that Beniers will be the best player with the Seattle Kraken this season. He will be their top line centre and receive top power play time.

Mason McTavish

McTavish is another rookie who saw some NHL action with his audition coming at the beginning of last season. Though not quite as successful as Beniers in his nine games, McTavish figures to be an offensive focal point for the Anaheim Ducks, who likely require more from McTavish than is reasonable to expect. On the other hand, McTavish has done nothing but exceed expectations since his draft year.

Owen Power

Power, like Beniers, joins the NHL from the Michigan Wolverines as a front runner for the Calder. Power is likely to man the Buffalo Sabres second pair behind Rasmus Dahlin, but appears to be a significantly strong blueliner already. During stints in the NHL, the Olympics, the U20 World Juniors, and the Men’s World Championship, he has consistently been a towering and overwhelmingly positive force for his team. Sabres coach Don Granato has the team improving their level significantly and a resurgence might be well underway in Buffalo. Power will be a key factor in any success the Sabres are able to have this season.


Cole Perfetti, Kent Johnson, Marco Rossi, Jack Quinn, and Alexander Holtz all appear to have spots on their NHL teams as important offensive contributors at even strength and on the power play. Although perhaps a cut below the top three Calder contenders, all of these skilled forwards have what it takes to assert themselves as impactful NHL scorers. Rossi is perhaps the most intriguing option of the group and The Wild have the rare combination of an extremely strong team and a centre depth chart that might have some high centre ice spots up for grabs.


Jake Sanderson appears to have just as good a shot at the Calder as fellow defenceman Owen Power. His Ottawa Senators are equally equipped to harbour playoff aspirations as the Sabres, if not more. Sanderson has the skating and physicality to hold up at the pro level. He should be an impactful top four defencemen this season, while the Senators are also quite high on the potential impact of rookie centre Shane Pinto. The Oilers Philip Broberg might find himself in a similar situation, but at this point Broberg does not seem as likely to earn a top four role as Sanderson and Power. Both Brandt Clarke and Simon Nemec are elite level prospects who seem to have a chance at playing NHL games this season as well.


Logan Thompson and the Oilers own Stuart Skinner are Calder eligible goalies who have shown some promise at the NHL level. Both have all but assured themselves into NHL spots on the depth chart, where an injury and a strong performance to lead their teams to a postseason berth might be too hard to ignore for Calder voters.


2022 draft picks Shane Wright and Juraj Slafkovsky are likely to see NHL time this season, but have a steep and unlikely path to reach the level of success others on this list might achieve in 2022–23.

Of course there are many candidates who will assert themselves as the season wears on, as there always is. At least on paper this is a Calder crop that is both strong and deep. Some years the bar is much higher than others, and unfortunately for Holloway, this appears to be one of the very competitive Calder races.

A brief look at previous winners

Last year Moritz Seider won the award, headlining the Detroit Red Wings blueline as their top defenceman. Despite the team’s lack of success, Seider’s incredible play earned him the Calder victory over higher scoring forwards. One might be tempted to draw comparisons to Power here, but it should be noted that Seider was the SHL’s defenceman of the year prior to his rookie season. No matter what accomplishments rookies of this year’s class have achieved, none are quite as impressive as Seider’s were coming into last season.

There has been controversy around who should be eligible for the Calder, personified by the absurdity of Michael Bunting’s eligibility last season. In years past, for example, many might have questioned older prospects such as Kirill Kaprizov or Artemi Panarin, who won the Calder over Connor McDavid. Perhaps Andrei Kuzmenko is a realistic candidate to lead rookie scoring this season.

In all, it is often not the player with the best career ahead of them that wins the Calder, but rather the one season snapshot of all those eligible for the award. With only one attempt to take home the award, it would be quite foolish for Holloway, or any of these rookies, to focus too much on trying to win this award. Rather, it would serve Oilers fans well to not get too enwrapped in the results here.

What are Holloway’s overall chances?

Holloway is properly appraised as a depth option on pre-season Calder odds. Although his talent and opportunity are great, this year’s Calder race is a doozie, rather, the field is quite competitive. Other rookies will be expected to factor into larger roles for their team than Holloway is on the contending Oilers. By sheer volume, it is quite unlikely that Holloway will find himself as the Calder winner.

Gregory Babinski

twitter: @axiomsofice

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