“Head-scratching asset management”: Edmonton Oilers GM Ken Holland blasted for draft day moves


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Edmonton Oilers GM Ken Holland is taking some heat on draft day 2020, in part for drafting Dylan Holloway with the team’s first pick, but mainly for his announcement that the team would not be qualifying restricted free agents Andreas Athanasiou and Matt Benning.

Holland said he was unable to work out new deals with either Athanasiou or Benning, so they were both going to become unrestricted free agents.

Holland acquired Athanasiou at the trade deadline for two second round draft picks.

“The Oilers gave up two 2nd round picks for Athanasiou at the deadline,” noted Boston hockey commentator Joe Haggerty. “Head-scratching asset management.”

Oilers fans were also not impressed.

speeds @hockeysymposium
Do not make the AA or Green trades, or sign Chiasson and Kassian, and EDM is rolling in picks and cap space. Say what you will about Chia, but that’s not on him.

Alan Hull @alanhull
They just keep putting anchors on their feet and trying to swim.


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So what has Holland done thats made you go “Good job Ken” besides getting rid of Lucic for Neal & 3rd.

As for the Holloway pick, there was more variation in the reaction, but much of it was negative, just as it was last year when the Oilers selected Philip Broberg, who has since improved his stock with strong play in the Sweden Elite League.

Here’s what was said by Oilers fans and bloggers on Twitter about the Holloway pick:

Socks @razorback56
I like the pick. Big power forward that might be ready to play very soon.

Jason Adams @AdamsOnHockey
While I don’t love the Holloway pick, it’s better than a Guhle pick. Holloway might maybe be a 3C in about five years time if everything breaks right. Stauffer’s comparable was Marty Reasoner. I am decidedly un-thrilled…Holloway being comfortable on the LW does make me feel a bit better, and the kid does seem thrilled to be an Oiler, so I feel a bit better about it. I feel he was a bit of a “safe” pick, and that’s not normally my draft strategy. I do hope he kills it for us.

Woodguy @Woodguy55
Reasoner has 1.26 pts/gm as a NCAA draft eligible, Holloway had 0.49. Bob is being very kind.

Sean Patrick Ryan @TheOilKnight
Edmonton selects Dylan Holloway who is fast & rugged, just not sure he’s a top 6 player but I do like him. I would have picked Rodion Amirov ftr but not terribly upset with Holloway. At least we didn’t go defence….

Greg Schmid @cdnmade74
Big, fast C who can play wing. Responsible in his own zone. I love the pick


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Cody Stuart @betamanic
Isn’t Tyler Wright’s drafting history pretty much underperforming third line centre types?

Jason Mills @iamjasonmills
The Dylan Holloway pick kind of feels like a reach and that the Oilers maybe got seduced by size like they’ve been guilty of in the past. Hope I’m wrong, but initially, it feels disappointing that this was the player they pick in the top half of the draft.

Derek Blasutti 🥍 @dawgbone98
If Holloway was like a week younger he would have been eligible for the 2019 draft. He probably doesn’t go in the first 3 rounds.

𝚣𝚊𝚌𝚑 𝚕𝚊𝚒𝚗𝚐 @zjlaing
Holloway projects to play another year or two of college with the University of Wisconsin and a year in the AHL before he’s NHL ready, the scout added….Some thoughts on the Holloway pick: from what I’m hearing he’s going to be a real solid NHL’er. Maybe not the top end, burner-esque talent that some were hoping for, but should be a nice top-six player for the Oilers in a few years. There’s reasons to be optimistic.

B.L.H. (Edmonton Oilers Enthusiast) @BeerLeagueHeroe
So happy Edmonton didn’t go with a defenseman here. Holloway is a player I think #Oilers fans will grow to really like. He’s blue collar to the bone. Holland is changing the culture from the draft out.

Rebuild 5.0? @Josephk90
Dylan Holloway is a kinda big player? He is about 6 feet tall, and plays with a big edge. One of those rare players that looks better skating with the puck, then without it. Scored in AJHL, but that doesnt mean anything. He has the upside of top9 power forward in the NHL, but he could be a bust too. Dont agree with the pick at all, but look forward to seeing him develop. Does he stay in collage? or do the oilers sign him and send him overseas. I bet the Oilers room was pretty divided at 14. Good for Montreal. Now Holland needs to get back into this round or the 2nd…The Oilers draft for need. But take a player they need now. Only problem he is years away from being ready. I prefer to draft my 3rd line players in the later rounds. I don’t know about you.


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brian mccormack @nairbmac
Luckily we drafted our future 4th line c to replace Jujhar. What a terrible pick. Ajhl😂.

Denny Sawchuk @Denny_Sawchuk
Wow the super “I’m going to be negative just to grab attention” Oiler fans sure come out on a night like this. I hope Holloway absolutely sticks it down their throats

TSM dohfOs (Martin Lundén) @dohfOs
Can’t believe #Oilers people are still talking about that Holloway kid when there’s another, quite possibly more legendary, kid missing out. WHERE IS HARRISON KATZ?!

pakeha @pakeha1
Big, fast, skilled power forward who can play C/LW and plays with grit, toughness and high compete. Yeah!

MilkMan JAY @342Monkey
I really wish I could have a photographic memory of all the ppl who shit on 18 year old kids and apparently know better than Stanley Cup winning NHL GM’s and scouts.
Or will they fess up in 2-5 years and admit how foolish they were and promise to never give their opinion again 🤔

Raja Dhami @gretzkytokurri
Don’t be upset at Holloway for being picked 14th by the Oilers.

Be angry at Tyler Wright. Be angry at Holland for making him a head scout.

Wright doesn’t value skill. Hence why he passes on players like Quinn Hughes and again..this story.

Simon St-Laurent @19Simon19
14. EDM. Dylan Holloway

I guess we can call it the first big surprise of the draft.

The Oilers needed a scorer and a forward that can be very useful and tough to play against.

Holloway has the speed to play with McDavid, could be an unpopular pick that becomes a great one.


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Gene Principe @GenePrincipe
“I was super excited. My phone blew up. They (@EdmontonOilers )have a lot of history. Growing up I did cheer for @NHLFlames fans but I’m not and my family aren’t cheering for them anymore” Dylan Holloway on being chosen 14th

Dennis King @DKingBH
I think the best case for Holloway, and it could be said for a lot of people not drafted 14ov, is he plays the go-to-the-net role with 97 just like Maroon did. Otherwise he looks like a 3rd liner who can kill penalties

Robin Brownlee @Robin_Brownlee
Scott Wheeler, The Athletic: “He’s a unique athlete in this class, an outstanding skater, a physical presence and a talented scorer with a hard wrist shot. I’d expect a breakout season as a sophomore . . .

Christopher Bataluk @ChrisBataluk
He has all the physical tools to be successful. As far as I can tell Holland made a big bet that he can be coached up into being a successful pro player on the strength of his athletic gifts. The player was ranked highly across all the organizations for a reason.

WheatNOil @WheatNOil
Like Broberg last year, the Oilers seem to reach based on math-focused rankings, but less so based on rankings that are less math-y.

Obviously I lean more math-y. Holland / Wright didn’t have a wonderful track record drafting in Detroit.

DaddyPilks 🇨🇦 @Pilkey77
This is a great pick. Big power forward with skill and hockey sense. He will make this team in 2 to 3 years. That’s pretty good for a 14th overall. Oilers don’t have much at forward in the minors. This is a big win


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jtshark @jtshark71
Won’t know for 4 years what kind of player he is.

My take

  1. The Holloway pick reminds me of the Broberg pick, with Edmonton taking a bigger, faster two-way player over the smaller, more productive forwards still on the board. At this point, the Broberg pick looks like it’s working out so I’ll hope for the same with the Holloway pick.
  2. There was a huge negative reaction when the Oilers drafted Leon Drasaitl. Many loud commentators on Twitter felt Edmonton should have taken Sam Bennett instead. The same negative reaction blew up with the Broberg pick. I’m no expert on these young players, so I’ll congratulate Dylan Holloway on being picked in the first round and hope the Oilers got it right.
  3. All that said, I’m not convinced Tyler Wright is a brilliant scout. His record in Detroit wasn’t great. But to win and keep winning, Edmonton needs a great scout in that role.
  4. As for Athanasiou and Benning, they are no longer worth the amount of money it would have taken to qualify them, so it makes sense not to qualify them. This is painful in the case of Athanasiou who cost the team two second round picks, but those are sunk costs. Those picks are not coming back. Why compound that asset loss by paying too much for the player now?
  5. When Holland made the Athanasiou trade, he did not and could not have anticipated that COVID-19 would wipe out much of the season, taking away crucial games for the player to fit in and make his mark in Edmonton.
  6. The lockdown has also drastically changed NHL economics, moving Athanasiou from being a player the Oilers would almost certainly have qualified at his old contract to one who should be paid considerably less. You can blame Holland if you want for this, but I’m cool with him betting on this Oilers team, which was so strong after Christmas. This team has a chance to go far into the playoffs, Holland helped that along by trading for Athanasiou, Tyler Ennis and Mike Green. While only the Ennis deal worked out, I didn’t blame Holland for making the attempt when the trades were made, so I’m not going to blame him now.

At the Cult

McCURDY: Oilers take Holloway 14th in 2020 draft


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