Anaheim calling to the hockey world...
Two surprise picks in the Top 15: The Islanders traded UP (?) to be certain they could pick Calvin De Haan (a playmate familiar to Tavares) and the Ducks picked Peter Holland at 15th. Were the Draft held in March, both picks would have been timely, but after months of shifting Draft boards, the picks drew the appropriate gasps.
I should say that calling this pick a "mistake" ignores the scouting and interview work that Murray, Madden and their staffs have done over the past few months. However, with Moore and Schroeder still available, this was NOT the prudent "best player available" pick from the perspective of outside observers.
As a gauge of Holland's stock going into the draft, consider that he was a 2nd Round player on The Hockey News Mock Draft, and was picked 27th in the Hockey's Future Mock Draft.
So, who is Peter Holland?
In his rookie season with the Guelph Storm, Holland turned in a quiet effort of 8 G and 15 A, but he took on a larger role this year, and with it, a larger share of the scouting spotlight. His 28 G and 39 A were second only to Matt Kennedy in terms of point production for the Storm. But a slowed pace after a quick start led to the emergence of an oft misquoted characterization of Holland having a "lackadaisical attitude." The actual quote, from a THN article, compared the perception of his passive play as "lackadaisical" to an equally valid perception that his play was "analytical" and thought-out. Regardless of how you might choose to perceive these lapses in intensity, Holland has now been branded with the criticism of "inconsistent," as evidenced by this evaluation from Chris Edwards of NHL Central Scouting:
"When he is competing, he is very noticeable and effective. He is used both on the power-play and penalty-kill units, and at times he has been used at the point on the power-play. He skates very well, smooth, and he generates good speed. He has a very good shot." [emphasis added]
Holland seems aware of the perception. When describing his performance of late, the 18-year old was quick to point to the pressures of being a young leader on his team and the nervousness of knowing the scouts were watching him, factors that could certainly contribute to his inconsistency. Ultimately, whether you choose to paint his style of play as "thinking-man's-hockey" or "taking-shifts-off," the young center may lack the competitive drive to battle at the potential of his 6'2" 185 lb. size.
- Good skater. Agile and nimble for his size.
- Incredible hockey sense that makes him a valuable player on the Kill AND Man-advantage.
- Inconsistency. It's a question mark that has hung over everyone from Stanislav Chistov to Ryan Getzlaf.
- He may be a perimeter player faking a Power Forward style.
- "Bust" risk is high when you consider that the best players available were both consistent producers, and smart on both sides of the puck.