On Tuesday April 20th, the New Jersey Devils signed first-round pick Alexander Holtz to a three-year, entry-level contract. As the forward makes his way to North America, his amateur tryout contract is set to begin in 2021-22. It all begins once he sorts out his work visa and completes his government-mandated quarantine.
What People Should Expect
With Alexander Holtz soon to join the Devils farm team, expect the winger to get a lot ice time. It seems to be part of Tom Fitzgerald’s plan to allow the native of Saltsjö-Boo, Sweden to adjust to the North American style of hockey. Don’t expect him to join the NHL team right away because it’s the assimilation period for Holtz to grow into the hockey club’s pipeline.
Taking a look at the offseason, depending on rookie and preseason training camps, expect a lot of media attention to be geared towards the 19-year-old forward and Dawson Mercer. Both of course being apart of the near-term picture for the New Jersey Devils. Playing in the SHL, Holtz is primarily a finisher and the kind of guy who can help Jack Hughes to become more productive on the top two lines.
Don’t be surprised when guys such as Tyce Thompson, Dawson Mercer, Nolan Foote and Yegor Sharangovich get a veteran sniper to play alongside, which will help to alleviate expectations for Holtz. It is vital for Tom Fitzgerald to improve not only several stay-at-home defensemen, but to collect extra picks and cap to bring in players with experience. It’s important for a kid like Alexander Holtz to have a veteran presence to help guide him through his first season.
Keep expectations lower for Holtz because when Jesper Bratt came over from Sweden, he wasn’t accustomed to 40+ games. Bratt saw a point where he slowed down, but still scored 35 points during the 2017-18 season. However, because Holtz will be on a top-two line, my conservative estimate is 35 to 50 points.
If the team was more competitive in the second half this season, we would have heard Ty Smith, Yegor Sharangovich and Janne Kuokkanen’s names mentioned more often if they were closer to fourth or fifth in the Mass Mutual East Division. If the Devils do bolster the defence both internally and externally and the team plays more competitively, I would, in that case, say yes while also seeing Holtz lead them higher in the standings.
It would be great to see not only Holtz go for the Calder, but maybe Dawson Mercer and Tyce Thompson show how well the next crop of players can push the offence while being lethal.
Alexander Holtz won’t have to go through a huge culture change upon his arrival in Newark, New Jersey, with Jesper Boqvist, Jesper Bratt and Andreas Johnsson being from Sweden and Janne Kuokkanen hailing from neighbouring Finland. That being said, there is a lot of nordic familiarity between those players. For Alexander Holtz, as a young adult, this allows him to assimilate rather smoothly to his new surroundings in the National Hockey League. This on and off ice lifestyle can help Alex grow comfortably in his new environment.