Dylan Holloway is the Oilers’ top prospect who hasn’t yet played an NHL game. He was their first round pick in the 2020 NHL draft, 14th overall.
He’s played for the University of Wisconsin for the past two seasons. Last season, however, he made a big leap in scoring, going from .49 points per game as a freshman, to 1.52 points per game as a sophomore. Due to this offensive uptick in 2020-21, many are suggesting that the Oilers may have gotten great value on Holloway in the middle of the first round.
However, one thing that should be noted when considering Holloway’s NCAA scoring last season, is that he did play on a line with Cole Caufield, who scored 30 goals in 31 games. I’m not suggesting that their relationship as linemates wasn’t symbiotic, Caufield’s Hobey Baker winning season may not have been as spectacular as it was if not for Holloway’s presence on his line, but, we still need to acknowledge that 1.5 points per game isn’t quite as hard as it otherwise might be if you’re not passing the puck to the best player college player in the country on a regular basis.
At 6’1’’, and 203lbs, Holloway has the physical build to make the leap to the highest level sooner rather than later, still, it remains to be seen when he’ll be good enough to be a full-time NHL player. He just turned 20 on Thursday, so keep in mind that his entire hockey resume has been accomplished as a teenager. The Oilers don’t have a prospect who is both younger, and more highly regarded than Holloway, but, on the other hand, everyone else in his vicinity on this list has proven (at least to a certain extent) that they can hang, and at times excel at the NHL level. Holloway’s ceiling is on par with some of these guys, but, due to the NCAA being the highest level at which he’s ever played, we can’t say the same about his floor yet.
Having said that, Holloway does have the making of a high floor prospect. Here’s a blurb about him from the 2020 EliteProspects Draft Guide:
By all accounts, Holloway has the type of game that could make him a valuable contributor to an NHL roster, even if he never develops a high level scoring touch. Which is a nice security blanket to have. He might become a bona fide top six player, or even a first liner, but it’s a plus to know that even if he struggles to ever become that type of offensive player, he should at least contribute in his own end, or on the penalty kill.
Between his high ceiling and high floor, it’s no wonder that Holloway managed to crack our top five.