New Jersey Devils: Alex Holtz Doesn’t Make Final Roster

The New Jersey Devils are putting the very final touches on the roster on Monday as they have to have the last pieces of the puzzle together according to the NHL. The extended rosters that are allowed for training camp and the preseason end, and it’s time to get down to 23 players. One person who was clearly on the cusp is Alex Holtz. The former seventh-overall pick was close to making the roster, but based on where he was being placed in practice lines, it was clear the Devils were leaning towards cutting him from the NHL team.

The Devils announced that they were sending Holtz to the Utica Comets to start this season. He’s going there to get top-six minutes and to have a spot on the power play. In the most recent practices, Holtz was playing on the fifth line and was shut out of power play time. If Holtz isn’t playing on the power play, he’s being set up to fail.

The Devils had him on the first line with Jack Hughes in Hughes’ only preseason game, They looked like a dominant first line that scored three goals between them and had four high-danger chances together. Holtz’s wicked shot seems like a natural fit with Hughes’ playmaking ability. And maybe it is. For now, we can only speculate.

Holtz will go to Utica and play big fish in a little pond. He’s likely starting on a line with Jesper Boqvist and Nolan Foote. That’s a very talented top line who all bring something different to the table. One thing that does is allow Boqvist to try something different with two of the best shots in the AHL. Foote has a rocket in his wrists, and Holtz has an NHL-caliber wrist shot.

The Devils clearly had a chance to make this work this season, but they decided the best route for his development would be to start him in the minors. They might be right, especially if his only route was in the bottom six.