New Jersey Devils: Alexander Holtz Starts His Ascent Into Starting Lineup

Alexander Holtz of the New Jersey Devils (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Alexander Holtz of the New Jersey Devils (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /

Friday night, the New Jersey Devils‘ prospects took the ice against the Buffalo Sabres. It was the first time we got to see Devils hockey of any time in five months. It was nice to see the players get back on the ice. The Devils did lose the game 3-0, but it wasn’t for lack of effort. The Devils’ prospects seemed to drive play, they just faced a really good goalie in Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen.

There were a few standouts for the night, but the line of Nolan Foote, Alexander Holtz, and Dawson Mercer was by far the best line of the game. Mercer controlled play every time he was on the ice. He was everywhere. For the first half of the game, it looked like Mercer would be the standout. Many thought this could be his tryout to make the Devils NHL roster.

This isn’t Mercer’s tryout. This is a tryout for Alexander Holtz.

Holtz is the dynamic talent that brings something that’s already at an NHL level. His shot is awesome. He doesn’t need a ton of room, and he gets it off like it’s on fire.

The Devils need more wingers than they need centers. There is one center position open, and some are saying Mercer should get a chance to take it (and he should), but Holtz is someone who can be a game changer.

Holtz had a rough year last season. His scoring rate actually went down with Djurgardens of the SHL. He scored 9 goals in 35 games in his draft season, but he responded with just 7 goals in 40 games last season. He wasn’t given the right opportunities to succeed in his final year in Sweden, so most fans were excited to watch as he spent the end of last season with the Binghamton Devils. Maybe it was just too much at once, but he didn’t look nearly as good as most hoped.

The Binghamton team was losing nearly every game, so it’s hard to believe there would have been good vibes coming into that locker room. However, Holtz 1 goal in 10 games. That’s unacceptable under any circumstances.

During Friday night’s game against the Sabres’ prospects, Holtz was insanely trigger happy. He hasn’t lost any confidence in his shot. It’s good that a prospect understands his most deadly asset, but he needs to learn a little bit more about timing. Still, if he can get those shots in the NHL, they will eventually go in. He wants to be someone who shoots the puck 300 times every season. That is what the best goal scorers in the league do.

Holtz is the straw that stirs the drink for the Devils’ prospects. He’s the key piece outside of maybe Luke Hughes. Mercer is going to be really good at his role, but his role as an energy guy needs a year in the minors to tweak. Holtz, on the other hand, needs to take what makes him great and show it’s already ready for primetime. He gets another chance to impress Devils brass on Sunday.