Peter Holland was stuck behind a glut of NHL-quality forwards with the Anaheim Ducks, but the Toronto Maple Leafs acquired the young center after their group down the middle was dismantled by injury and suspensions. On the surface the acquisition of Holland appears to be a momentary stop gab before the Leafs get healthy, but Holland has the talent and tools necessary to be an impact player at this level.
With Tyler Bozak and Dave Bolland on the shelf and their wing-turned-center replacement in Nazem Kadri suspended, Holland has the opportunity to go from AHL forward to top-six NHL center overnight. He’s expected to start tonight’s contest for Toronto and will be lining up with some mighty talented forwards.
Peter Holland will play for Leafs tonight. Likely between Clarkson and Lupul…or, JVR and Kessel. Longterm…good 2nd or 3rd line centre.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) November 16, 2013
Holland has the speed and size to click for the Leafs. All that the youngster needed was an opportunity. Head coach Randy Carlyle spent some time around the center during his tenure in Anaheim, and spoke to NHL.com about his newest player:
He’s a big, young, skilled center ice man. He’s been able to provide offense at the junior level and the American Hockey League level and he’s going to get an opportunity to play with some of our better players.
While Holland may only have 29 games of NHL experience, he’s been getting his reps in the AHL since 2011-12. This season he’d scored nine points in 10 games for the Norfolk Admirals. Known mostly as a center that likes to shoot from the middle of the ice, Holland has rounded out his game nicely over the last two years in the minors.
There were questions about his effort level when he was younger, but he’s shaken those doubts of now and could be just what the doctor ordered for the banging up and bruised Maple Leafs. This is a low risk-high reward move for Toronto that could be a boon now and in the future.