While most NHL teams are making one last push for the playoffs, the Anaheim Ducks are dreaming of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. With the highest probability of drafting 6th overall, is Alexander Holtz a good option for the future of Anaheim?
The past two seasons have felt like an eternity for Anaheim Ducks fans. It’s difficult when you have to watch your team go from playoff contenders to cellar dwellers in the span of just a few years. We have been spoiled with good hockey in Southern California for a good while. All good teams must fall, and unfortunatley, that time is now for the Anaheim Ducks.
Nevertheless, despite the distance that separates the Ducks from Lord Stanley, it brings them closer to a high draft pick that they desperately need. Last year, they were extremely lucky when Steve Yzerman selected German defenseman, Moritz Seider, with their 6th overall pick, opening the way for the Ducks to draft elite American center, Trevor Zegras.
It feels like forever since we drafted Zegras and late first-rounder, Brayden Tracey. However, with the 2019 NHL Entry Draft far in the rearview mirror, this brings us back to the present. Both Zegras and Tracey will be phenomenal additions to the Anaheim Ducks someday in the near future. Nevertheless, the 2020 NHL Entry Draft is going to be incredibly deep, which should spark excitement in fans.
Over the next few months, we will examine potential draft picks for the Ducks based on where they stand in the 2020 NHL Draft Lottery Odds. While dreams of Alexis Lafrenière might help you sleep better at night, Anaheim only has an 8.5% chance of drafting first this year. Their chances of drafting second and third overall are slightly higher, but not by much. We will definetly take a look at players like Alexis Lafrenière, Quinton Byfield, and several other elusive draft picks as the season progresses, but today, we will start with a more predictable selection.
The Anaheim Ducks are currently 27th in the league with 47 points in 52 games. They have the highest probability of drafting 6th overall this year in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft (34.5%.) There are several draft prospects ranked at 6th overall by several different sources. However, with the Bob Father (Bob McKenzie) dropping his mid-season draft rankings on TSN, we’re going to take a look at his 6th overall projected draft pick, Alexander Holtz.
Alexander Holtz Profile
Born: January 23, 2002 (18 yo), Saltsjö-Boo, Sweden
Draft Year Team: Djurgårdens IF (SHL)
- U18 WJC Gold Medal
- J20 SuperElite (Overall) Most Goals (30)
- Hlinka Memorial Silver Medal
Alexander Holtz has several notable accomplishments that deserve mentioning. During the 2018-19 season, at 17-years-old, he shattered the U17 goal-scoring record, scoring 30 goals in the Swedish SuperElite league. However, one of his crowing achievements of the season was winning the Gold Medal at the U18 World Junior Championships with Team Sweden. Selected as one of their alternate captains, he had four goals and three helpers throughout the tournament, playing a big part in leading Sweden to the gold. To cap off the season, he assisted Sweden in winning the Hlinka Memorial Silver Medal, producing 7 points (2g, 5a) in just 5 games.
Once again, he joined team Sweden at the 2020 WJC in the Czech Republic. They would lose to team Russia in overtime during the Semifinal, sending them to the Bronze Medal game. They defeated Team Finland 3-2, winning them the Bronze Medal. Holtz joined the team for 7 games, scoring 3 goals and an added 2 helpers throughout the tournament.
Who is Alexander Holtz?
We all know how much Bob Murray loves his Swedish players, and Alexander Holtz fits GMBM’s MO perfectly. Hailing from Saltsjö-Boo, Sweden, Holtz would be an excellent addition to Swedenheim. Aside from Murray’s intrigue with Swedish prospects, the young 18-year-old winger has the potential to be a solid choice for the Anaheim Ducks in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. While he is no Lafrenière, his style fits the criteria when it comes to what the organization should look for in their first-round selection this year.
Last year’s first-round draft pick, Trevor Zegras, fits a mold similar to that of Ryan Getzlaf. He is a flashy playmaker, which will fulfill an important role on the roster once Getzlaf hangs up his skates. Despite his incredible playmaking abilities, Zegras lacks the elite goal-scoring talent that will be crucial should the Ducks intend to be playoff contenders again in the next few years. Holtz is one of the top prospects in this year’s draft that would compliment Zegras’ playmaking skills exceptionally.
Making the full-time transition to the SHL this season, Alexander Holtz currently has a stat line of 7-5-12 in 27 games played. Praised for his offensive talent, Holtz is often categorized as a natural goal scorer. The Ducks lack finishers on their current roster, and while the young Swede can certainly fulfill a role as a playmaker if the need arises, he prefers to be the one to finish plays himself. He defines himself as a technically skilled sniper; his dangerous shot often his most prominent and widely recognized skill.
18-year-old Holtz is also distinguishable for his ability to read the game and anticipate openings. He has great positioning in the offensive zone and is often ready to make a play or take a shot long before the puck is on his stick. Holtz is nothing close to a one-dimensional player, as he is a talented playmaker as well. A majority of his assists are generated from rebounds, but he makes smart passes that produce results.
While he is not specified as a two-way forward, he is, for the most part, defensively sound. He is responsible at both ends of the ice, and it isn’t unusual for him to shift gears instantaneously to offer coverage to his teammates and throw off his opponents. The Swedish winger is a fantastic stickhandler in all situations, plays a high tempo game, and keep the energy up. He has an incredible work ethic and isn’t afraid to have fun.
“Dad used to tell me that you can’t play hockey the right way if you’re not having fun and I always have a lot of fun.” –Alexander Holtz
Holtz is an exceptional skater, having great balance and speed. His acceleration needs some work, but it’s not something that is detrimental to his game. Another quality that might make him a target of Bob Murray is his thick and powerful frame, this makes it very hard for opponents to neutralize the young winger.
Another added bonus is his effectiveness on the power play. He would add a big boost to the Anaheim Ducks underwhelming PP they’ve rolled out over the past few seasons. His discipline off the ice is equally as incredible as his vision on the ice. He isn’t afraid to take risks or be creative, which would shake things up nicely should he play in Anaheim.
Overall, while there are areas of his game he will improve upon with time, as he gets older, he will have a well-rounded game. This would make him a great pick for Anaheim should they secure the 6th overall selection in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft.
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Ducks 2020 Draft Spotlight: Noel Gunler Adds Offensive Creativity to 1st Round
The Anaheim Ducks’ recent point streak has slightly changed their overall projected draft spot. Swedish winger, Noel Gunler, could be worth considering.
The recent point streak by the Anaheim Ducks has slightly changed the environment the team may be working under when the 2020 NHL Entry Draft comes along. That is to say, it’s realistically pushed them out of the top of the draft, although there is a chance the ping pong balls will bounce in their favor. Specifically, tankathon.com gives them an 8.5% chance at the 1st overall pick and an 8.9% chance at 3rd overall.
It’s a small chance that is dwarfed by the bottom 3 teams in the league, but it’s still a chance. More realistically, however, the Ducks are likely to pick between #5 and #7 overall. Sportsclubstats.com gives the Ducks a 23% chance at the 4th overall pick, while tankathon.com gives the Ducks a 34.5% chance at the #6 pick, and a 26.7% chance at the #7 selection.
Given the overwhelming chance that the Ducks will be selecting in the portion of the draft, today’s draft profile is going to seem a little out of the box. However, what are the chances they keep winning games? Low? High? Who knows! But, we should be ready just in case.
With that in mind I’ll be looking at the player Anaheim Ducks fans will inevitably and affectionately call “the Big Gun.” That’s right, Swedish winger, Noel Gunler, is in the spotlight.
Gunler is one of the oldest players first-time eligible for the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, being born October 7th, 2001 (on my sister’s birthday, so according to his horoscope, he’s trouble). An offensively orientated player who can play on either wing, Gunler may have the most complete offensive game amongst draft-eligible prospects.
Noel Gunler Profile
Born: October 07, 2001 (18 yo), Lulea, Sweden
Draft Year Team: Luleå HF (SHL)
Position: RW (primarily)/LW
Height: 6’2”/187 cm
Weight: 176 lbs/80 kg
Scoring history for each season can be found at eliteprospects.com
Boston Bruins: Recent mean streak a sign that the Bruins mean business
The Boston Bruins have been upped the ante in recent weeks, showing a mean streak befitting of play-off hockey.
Suddenly no team is willing to take a run at the Boston Bruins, which is a distinct shift from the earlier part of the season. The team is truly showing it’s determination as a group to avenge last year’s Stanley Cup Final loss.
Yes, we may be taking a few more penalties, but no player is allowed near our goalie, no check is going to go without one in return.
You only need look at the way the Boston Bruins swarmed Edmonton Oilers’ winger Alex Chiasson after he hit Matt Grzelyck nastily last game to realise that this whole team is in it for each other and determined to go all the way.
Among the three Boston Bruins players that went over to Chiasson to share their displeasure was young defenseman Jeremy Lauzon.
He is exactly the sort of player we’ve been waiting for on the blue-line, playing with some real edge to his game and it could very well be that he proves as good as any trade deadline acquisition in terms of adding physicality and a bit of sandpaper to the third pairing.
Obviously, he still needs to ensure he finds balance in his hitting and physical play as we don’t want any further suspensions. If you recall, he spent two games watching on after a late check to Coyotes’ center, Derek Stepan a week or so ago.
Far from just being the one player stepping up though, it’s been the whole team. Brad Marchand is back doing what he does best; getting under people’s skin, both on the score-sheet and in general.
You only need see the war or words in the media between him and the Rangers’ Ryan Lindgren to know that he’s back to being the pest we love. Exactly the player that teams won’t want to face in the play-offs!
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Nobody has been allowed near Tuukka Rask since his most recent concussion and if anyone does encroach, they promptly feel the wrath of a Boston Bruins player. This is how we need to be to ensure he’s protected ahead of hopefully another deep play-off run.
Across the whole line-up, you’re seeing Boston Bruins players taking it up a notch; Zdeno Chara may have apologised to Brendan Gallagher since cross-checking him somewhat dangerously on the chin/throat, but on the ice, safe to say he meant it.
Name a player and you can guarantee they’re doing something to demonstrate that the Boston Bruins are determined to do whatever it takes to get back to the Stanley Cup Final this year and go all the way.