Tyler Bozak and Nazem Kadri could return as early as the 21st, but the Leafs needed to add some center depth regardless with Dave Bolland on the shelf indefinitely and nothing available on the Marlies yet past Trevor Smith.
The ideal scenario was Dave Nonis, in the place of acquiring a Vernon Fiddler type, grabbing a young center with some upside, especially since the organization had given up on Joe Colborne after preseason. In Peter Holland, a former 15th overall pick in 2009, that’s exactly what he’s acquired. It’s hard not to be pleased considering the Leafs badly needed something in the way of skilled upside on the depth chart at center.
Peter Holland was acquired from the Anaheim Ducks alongside Brad Stabuitz in exchange for Jesse Blacker, a conditional third (if Holland plays more than 25 games this season, this becomes a second) and a 7th round pick.
Peter Holland has nine points in ten games for the Norfolk Admirals this season, and one goal in four games for the Ducks. He was drafted eight slots behind Nazem Kadri in the 2009 draft, while Jesse Blacker was drafted 43 picks later in the second round that draft.
Peter Holland scouting report. pic.twitter.com/SNkOwRN8Hu
— Gus Katsaros (@KatsHockey) November 16, 2013
Holland is also an acquisition Don Cherry can get behind, hailing from Caledon, Ontario, and was one of the Leafs fans on Twitter who jinxed the Leafs in Game 7.
In talking to Jimmy Hughes, Director of Player Development, over the summer, one of his answers to a query about defenceman Jesse Blacker struck us. While many were mentioning Blacker as in the mix for a 6 or 7 defence spot potentially, Hughes said he just wanted Blacker to take a step forward on the Marlies. Immediately one was left with the impression that he wasn’t progressing as some might have thought. He’s a kid with a lot of tools, but also some frustrating tendencies to his game. Hughes’ description that the organization would like to see Blacker learn the trade as a dependable “shutdown guy with a good first pass” was interesting; I can’t say for sure if this meant they wanted to see some of the offensive instincts in Blacker’s game reined in, but the feeling I was getting was that Blacker’s path to the NHL wasn’t all that clear as of yet. In the end, he was an expendable piece given the array of defensive prospects the Leafs have assembled in their pipeline.
This isn’t a deal either side can celebrate as a victory until we have a number of years to see where Blacker and Holland go with their respective careers. The other angle to consider when assessing this trade as months and years go by is whether or not the Leafs were better off keeping Colborne than giving up these assets for Holland. Obviously the Ducks aren’t thrilled with Holland’s progress to have moved him for what they have. We can, however, be pleased that Nonis addressed a pretty glaring need by adding a 22 year old center with upside and good size to boot.
It’s not clear on why Brad Staubitz was packaged alongisde Holland in this deal – likely because Anaheim was looking to dump the salary – but he will be Marlie bound. In 230 career NHL games with San Jose, Minnesota, Montreal and Anaheim, the six-foot-one, 207-pound native of Bright’s Grove, Ont., has 10 goals, 11 assists and 520 penalty minutes. Taking on any deal below the $925,000 threshold doesn’t matter much to the Leafs.
Holland is expected to center either the top line or the second line with Joffrey Lupul and David Clarkson tonight. Carlyle will already be familiar with him as a prospect in the Anaheim system for a year and a half before Carlyle was fired. Just as we were preparing for another ugly, likely boring and low-scoring game against the Sabres, we’ve now got some intrigue.
Holland’s first career NHL goal from a few years back: