The New Jersey Devils used this summer to continue shaping their young roster in hopes of once again becoming an NHL powerhouse. Moves were made through free agency and trades, but the expectation of more young players stepping up and making an impact still stands. As a result, some of the team's more highly touted prospects will be under many watchful eyes very soon. One such player is 2020 draft choice Alexander Holtz.
Holtz isn't a complete stranger to the NHL level, as we did get the chance to see him in limited games last season. While his impact at that level was essentially non-existent, he performed more than admirably during his time in the AHL. With recent reports that Holtz has been adding muscle and preparing himself to be a regular this season, the question persists as to whether or not he stays with the big club or not this season.
I would understand some making the argument to see Holtz have one more season in the AHL. Having him repeat or exceed that success at the same level in 2022-23 could be the assurance needed to know that he could succeed at the NHL level. It’s important to keep in mind that Holtz will only be turning 21 in the middle of this upcoming season; while many probably remember this, it can be easy to forget since he has been playing against men and others around his skill level for a few years already.
At the same time, the Devils could use his skill at the NHL level provided that he demonstrates in training camp and the preseason that he is ready. There’s a few players on NHL deals that struggled the last season (or two) and if Holtz is outplaying them, the Devils need to keep him up to ice the best roster possible. The goal this season is to be at least competitive, if not better than that, so continuing to roll with players who are underachieving shouldn’t be acceptable.
Even if Holtz proves to only be a slight upgrade in his rookie season, i would rather him play than a player who is underachieving or is trending downward on their career trajectory. The upgrade itself would benefit the team, but the NHL action could be what winds up being best for the development of Holtz as a player. The coaching staff might look at him in the next few weeks and decide that with his skill set, he has nothing left to prove in Utica, and the only way he will continue to grow is in New Jersey.
I certainly do not envy those who will have to make these decisions in the next few weeks. We know Holtz has been putting in the work, and the team is looking to assemble the most talented roster possible, so hopefully he finds himself joining the opening night roster. A little more scoring never hurt anyone and Holtz has been touted for having a great shot, so here’s hoping he helps the Devils return to relevance this season.
What are your thoughts on Alexander Holtz making the Devils roster this season; do you believe he will prove himself to be ready? Do you think it would be better for all parties if he attempted to replicate his AHL success from last season? Would you want him in the NHL even if he’s only a marginable upgrade from some more established players? Leave any and all comments below and thanks as always for reading!