Prospect Report: Alexander Holtz
Alexander Holtz is the best goal scorer in this draft class. The 6 foot, 183 pound Swede has been on the 2020 radar for years now, as he was one of the best players in the SuperElit from ages 15-17. Holtz had a 30 goal, 47 point campaign in his D-1 season, playing 38 games. Along with those 38 SuperElit games, he played in 38 combined international games with Sweden’s U17 and U18 teams, posting 24 goals and 48 points. Holtz absolutely dominated at every level he played at, earning him a short call up to Djurgardens IF in the SHL, where he went pointless.
This season, Holtz spent the majority of the time playing in the SHL, where he posted 9 goals and 7 assists for 16 points in 35 games, averaging just under 13 minutes of ice time per game overall. As the season went on, Holtz did end up spending some time playing in the top 6 for Djurgardens, averaging around 15 minutes per game. He was a top offensive threat for team Sweden at the WJC as well, scoring 3 goals and 5 points in 7 games. He also was able to get into 3 SuperElit games, where he ate up the competition, scoring 7 goals.
In his D-1 season, Holtz’s shot carried him through a lot of his games. He was a great skater and stickhandler last year, but he wasn’t forced to grind to the net, as he could score easily from long range. He was a great playmaker as well, but would rather shoot the puck. He was also an Ovechkin-esque presence on the power play, where he would post up in the left circle and either blast one timers, or take wristers over and over. That’s not a knock against him at all, as he’s a truly elite talent. He just wasn’t really forced to do anything else, so he stuck with what worked.
Watching him this season, Holtz’s game has evolved in nearly every aspect. He’s a faster, more aggressive skater, and he’s so good on his edges. He added an element of speed that he didn’t quite have last season, and it’s made him so much more dangerous. In addition, his puck handling skills under pressure have improved dramatically. Holtz doesn’t have any trouble attacking the blue line against SHL defensemen, as he’s able to stickhandle his way through most situations. Watch how confident he is carrying the puck over the line:
He stumbles, but is able to quickly get back to his feet all while controlling the puck, eventually sending a nice redirect pass into the slot for an assist. His skating over the blue line is so much better this season than it was last year, and it give him the ability to create space at a level he couldn’t before:
His edgework there is excellent, and he holds the puck out of the defenseman’s reach as he carves to the net. He’s able to pick corners like that from angles like that consistently as well, which is part of why he’s such an elite goal scorer. When entering the zone, he’s not just looking to be a shooter. Holtz keeps his head up, and is always looking to see if there’s a better option open. He’s been a lot more deceptive with his stickhandling this season too, as he’ll often keep the puck in a shooting position until the last second, before dishing it off to an open teammate. Holtz’s playmaking ability has evolved too, he’s seeing the ice better than ever before, and is becoming a much more dynamic offensive threat:
He wins the race to the loose puck, and takes the puck over the line recognizing that the defenseman has mostly covered one of his passing lanes. Instead of forcing a saucer pass to a potentially better chance, Holtz decides to simply lay the puck back to his 2nd option. That’s a smart play, as a guaranteed shot from the slot is a lot better than a potential shot from right in front of the net. The puck could have bounced, the defenseman could have knocked it down, etc. Holtz recognized that risk and made the right decision. Smart little plays like these have become commonplace in Holtz’s game, and he’ll often opt for the simple play rather than the risky one. Here’s another great example:
He could try to skate towards that puck and possess it, but that’s a 50/50 chance, so he just extends and makes a smart little poke pass, springing a 2 on 1 and a goal.
In his own zone, he’s a solid player with a usually active stick. He doesn’t have a remarkable defensive presence, but he’s engaged and willing to jump into lanes or use his body along the boards. He loves attacking the point at full speed, which can sometimes pull him out of position, but it can also end up like this:
The most exciting part about Holtz’s game is his goal scoring ability. He has the best release in the draft, as the puck just slingshots off his blade with insane velocity. He generates so much power on both his wrist shot and one timer, and has pinpoint accuracy from everywhere in the offensive zone. I could break down every aspect of how he scores and what makes him so special, but with Holtz, the highlights say it all, so I compiled some of his best goals from this past year at the end of this report.
Whichever team ends up drafting Holtz can expect to add a future first line winger, with dynamic offensive abilities in every facet, including 40 goal potential. He’s a special player, and in my opinion, the best shooter to enter the draft since Elias Pettersson.