Despite Bigger Role, Alexander Holtz's New Jersey Devils Future Still Not Clear

Alexander Holtz has been a point of consternation for New Jersey Devils fans. Now that he's getting a bigger opportunity, it's still hard to peg what his future holds.

2024 Navy Federal Credit Union Stadium Series - Philadelphia Flyers v New Jersey Devils
2024 Navy Federal Credit Union Stadium Series - Philadelphia Flyers v New Jersey Devils / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

The case of Alexander Holtz has been a tale as old as time with this franchise. Ever since the Swedish forward joined the New Jersey Devils, he has been regarded as part of the future of the team. However, the forward's role remains up in the air as the team finishes another lackluster season. For Holtz, this season may have been his make-or-break year to prove his place on this team.

Drafted 7th overall in the 2020 NHL Draft, the consensus on Holtz was that he had a lethal shot that would prove to be valuable to this young and upcoming New Jersey Devils team down the line. As constructed and lethal as his shot is, the team has always preached about Holtz working on the defensive side of his game.

He's not the best skater, so it is easy to notice that Holtz struggles to keep up on backchecks and often can get beat in the corners by a much bigger defenseman.

Holtz's defensive problems only continued to be highlighted more, throughout his time playing under former head coach Lindy Ruff. Holtz was often placed on the bottom six, where limited ice time never gave him the chance to get offensive opportunities he would be seeing had he been playing in the top six. Playing with defensive-minded players such as Curtis Lazar and Tomas Nosek provided Holtz with linemates who could make up for the lack of defense but could never provide him with the puck to gain these opportunities like Jack Hughes or Dawson Mercer could.

From a fan perspective, it's easy to say that Holtz could flourish by being placed with one of the Devils more talented forwards, such as Hughes, Mercer, and Hischier. That has been proven to be true, as Holtz has managed double-digit goals for the first time in his career this season after being moved up from the fourth line following Ruff's dismissal.

What exactly is Holtz's future on this team? Well, he is a pure sniper with a lethal shot. When placed in the right situations, Holtz can utilize his shot to score and play the game we all hope he would play coming up through the system. Holtz's defensive game seems to have improved lately, with his backchecks becoming more aggressive and his forechecking showing a bit more effort.

If everything can finally click for Holtz, he can be a real asset on this team and become a consistent goal scorer like we all know he can be. The focus now moves to not "if" Holtz can find the right tools, but "when" is going to find the right tools. His time may be running out, but you should not be giving up hope just yet.