Center depth concerns are about as ubiquitous with the Arizona Coyotes organization as constant relocation rumors. This year was no exception, and Peter Holland is a good case study for the phenomenon.
Holland's Coyotes story starts with a broken leg. The Coyotes' center depth took a huge hit early after news broke that Brad Richardson was gone for the year. Shortly after that, the Coyotes sent Dylan Strome back to Erie - a move that resulted in All-Star accolades and an OHL championship for the Coyotes prospect.
Enter Holland, a former first-round pick who hadn't quite broken out yet (to put it in kind terms) in parts of four NHL seasons, mostly as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs. He was coming off a career year in 2015-2016, tallying 27 points in 67 games.
Those are hardly world-beating numbers, but down two centers, the Coyotes had to make a move. So they executed a trade to acquire Holland's services - dealing a conditional sixth rounder to Toronto, which signals that Toronto was likely to place him on waivers.
All this set up is to say that Peter Holland was exactly the same player he's always been in Arizona: in 40 games, he put up an unremarkable 5-6-11 line.
In assessing Peter Holland, it makes perfect sense to bring up Alexander Burmistrov. Both players were fliers on a center-hungry team, both were about waiver-level material. And, most importantly, both are restricted free agents for a Coyotes team that needs expansion-draft-eligible bodies to expose.
So, that brings us to the ultimate question: did Peter Holland play himself into a new deal with the Coyotes?
In my eyes, no, not really.
His point production paints an unspectacular picture, but the more advanced stats also don't show him in a flattering light.
Per corsica.hockey, he was bottom five on the team in the per-60 versions of CorsiFor, CorsiAgainst and FenwickFor. He's not a great offensive contributor, and also didn't help his case in the defensive zone.
He centered the top line after the Martin Hanzal trade, but it didn't take long to for Christian Dvorak to tighten his vice grip on that spot. By the end of the season, Holland spent every other game or so in the press box.
So, if I were to grade Peter Holland’s season, I’m inclined to give him a D+. He was brought in as a lottery ticket, and it didn't pay huge dividends for the Coyotes. But it's important to keep things in perspective -- while he didn't accomplish much, it's not like there were huge expectations in the first place.
But, in the immediate future, the Coyotes center depth is still a problem. And as a restricted free agent under Coyotes control, Holland is a cheap, cost-effective way of addressing the problem. But should the Coyotes go that route?
Headed into 2017-2018, the Coyotes centers under contract depth chart looks as follows:
- Christian Dvorak
- Brad Richardson
- Dylan Strome (rookie, AHL eligible)
- Clayton Keller (rookie, and he might be better on the wing)
- Jordan Martinook (also plays wing)
- Laurent Dauphin
It's a young group, in desperate need of experience, and with five years of NHL experience under his belt, Holland certainly fits that bill.
But, there's only so much room. Based off last season alone, it would make sense for the Coyotes to add Burmistrov. The former Jet flourished in his short stint and can fit a bottom-six role, while also serving as a stopgap while Strome finds his NHL legs.
To add to that, part of the trade to acquire Holland included a condition; if the Coyotes re-sign Holland, then their 2018 sixth rounder goes to Toronto. While a sixth rounder is relatively meaningless, it is still a draft pick. And with more young reinforcements on the way, that might be enough to keep Holland out of the Coyotes' plans.
But, replacement level players are still worth something. And the Coyotes brass could still feel that Holland’s best hockey is still ahead of him.
The grades of all the other Coyotes players can be found on our master post here.
What Grade Would You Give Peter Holland?
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You mean Petey Hollman??