Saturday, June 27, 2009

Penalty Kill: Peter Holland

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.


Rob said...

Holland has elite talent...he just plays in a suffocating defensive system in guelph, also he was rank 9th at mid-season, but he had a bad game in front of ISS and about 100 scouts in the playoffs and that dropped his stock, what is NOT mentioned is the next game he had a hattrick and the scouts were not there to see it.

Holland has an elite wrist shot and is a good skater especially for a 6'2 guy, his hands and vision are first rate and hes solid defensively.

the ducks got a player with top 10 talent no question.

Anaheim Calling said...

I think Top 10 is pushing it. I doubt even Kadri has the Top 10 talent of his Top 10 status. I don't think there were too many 'sure things' amongst the First Round forwards this year. And I think that performing when the scouts are watching, something Holland admitted he had trouble doing, is part of proving that you're ready to play under the pressure of making a pro team.

That being said, I don't fault the pick. That's why teams conduct interviews and independent scouting. Holland might have explained away his bad games and slowed performance to Martin Madden's satisfaction, or maybe, as you said, Madden inferred it from the system that he plays in Guelph.

Rob said...

well remember these guys are 18 years old, except for the real top guys consistency is always an issue. Also Guelph was not that talented of a team and their system is just defense, defense, defense. There's a nice video floating around on youtube and the two biggest things you will notice are his mobility and the hands. His wrist shot is Jeff Carter like.

Anaheim Calling said...

I'm well aware that Holland is a 1991 guy, thus my reference to Getzlaf and Chistov, who were marked as inconsistent and/or attitude issues. It doesn't always mean anything, and it doesn't always mean nothing.

He's a two-way guy, which we weren't exactly hurting for, and I believe explosive offense in this year's draft ended with Kadri and Glennie, which is why they were taken so high.

Also, you sound as though you've watched him more than I have, but I wouldn't recommend ANYONE judge this kid from a YouTube video. Watching game highlights on the Guelph site, or signing up for a Livestream account is the best advice for anyone reading this. You can see that he has talent, and he faced better competition than the US players the Ducks could have taken.

BUT I'm not thrilled about the pick. I don't think he actually is head and shoulders above Kreider and LeBlanc, who went in the 15-20. And I don't even think he's better than Schroeder. Ultimately, the best player available was Schroeder or Moore. I like Moore's toolbox, and think we could have taken a defenseman since we had two First Rounders. And I watched Schroeder play with Stoa all year. So, despite his size, I know how explosive he can be when paired with a power forward. Had we picked Holland at 26th, where I think he may still have been available, I would have nothing negative to say about it.

Rob said...

Additionally Schroeder had Schremp bad interviews, Gare Joyce talked to several scouts that were in the interview rooms with him and all the reports were the same, self centered, arrogant, and wouldn't take any blame for anything.

Anaheim Calling said...

Well, as someone desperate to defend Holland's bad performance in one game, I would think you'd be searching for a broader interpretation of Schroeder.

I've seen interviews and profiles of Schroeder on FSN North. He doesn't strike me that way. If he was consistently that way during interviews, I'd assume it was a way to project confidence and show he can make the jump, and I could see how that would backfire, but only someone who is 5'8" would have to conceive such a plan. Not to mention overtraining so that he could impress during the upper body strength portion of the fitness examination.

Rob said...

I'm not trying to bash Schroeder, talent wise he's a top 10 pick no question but Gare talked to several scouts from different teams and the responses were all the same, Schroeder interviewed poorly that doesn't mean he'll flop but it apparently raised concerns.

Anaheim Calling said...

I really hate spreading nonsensical information when it comes to prospects. That's why I was intentionally vague with the details of Palmieri's alleged indiscretions. I think it's irresponsible to re-report something as though it was definitive in a team's decision making when it's hearsay or one person's evaluation.

Joyce is a respected writer, but if we're going to play this game, I would point out that he identified the worst interviewees as Schroeder AND Holland. He elaborated on Schroeder, but found Holland's unimpressive attitude to be just as noteworthy. Clearly, the Ducks disagreed.

So, I have no reason to believe that his opinion of Schroeder is representative of the 15-20 teams' decision making, as his equally negative opinion of Holland clearly wasn't representative of our decision making.

I don't know if Schroeder was treating it like a job interview or just didn't like the questions, but I can say that he has never come off like that. And most journalists reporting Joyce's comments are quick to point or link to other interviews where Schroeder sounds normal.

Anaheim Calling said...

@ Rob and anyone following this. Sorry, but I had to moderate your last comment. This blog has yet to evolve into a comment-driven site. As such, I would prefer to be prudent regarding libel, even with public figures, though I would make the strong legal argument that none of these kids is a public figure until he signs a pro contract. Misinformation is tricky, and rumors and inferences can be just as false as lies.

Joyce did not have to expound on Holland because Holland did not fall. Some had him ranked in the 2nd Round come draft day, including myself. And I guarantee you MY eyebrow was raised.

Even if Joyce talked to every 15-20 head scout, he wasn't in their war rooms when the decision was made. So, he can't say, and never attempted to say, that the interviews were the "primary reason," as you've represented it, that Schroeder fell. If he had, then he would have to explain why Holland, who he claimed interviewed just as poorly, WAS drafted in the 15-20. It was a contributing factor for the evaluation of many teams, I'm sure, but it does less to explain the situation than noting that 2 of the 3 forwards drafted in the 15-20 are big-bodied power forwards.

I enjoy the HF Boards, and I would invite any curious parties reading this to Google any rumors we've referenced. However, as to what gets published here, I do my best to offer information that can be sourced and cited to a legitimate or semi-legitimate source, and would ask the same for the comment section.