The Leafs' 12th ranked prospect is the quiet German Korbinian Holzer that is looking to make the jump to the NHL.
During the Toronto Marlies run to the Calder Cup finals, we heard plenty about some of the prospects who were making a significant contribution to the team. We heard about Matt Frattin leading the charge offensively before getting hurt. We heard about Jerry D'Amigo contributing timely offence and teaming with Greg Scott to form a deadly penalty killing duo that was at one point in the third round operating at 98% (not a typo) effeciency. We heard about Ben Scrivens and how his sparkling play in net gave the Marlies a tremendous base from which to make their run
One player that we didn't hear an awful lot about during those playoffs, but who was just as instrumental to the Marlies success, was Korbinian Holzer. The big German defender, a 4th round pick back in 2006, was primarily responsible for preventing other teams top forwards from scoring. He and his partner Mark Fraser formed an effective pairing that played routinely against other teams' top lines.
Holzer has developed into a physical defensive defenceman primed for a promotion to the NHL, and rises three positions on our list up to #12.
After two seasons in the AHL (to go with a few extra seasons spent in the German professional leagues), Holzer is a seasoned pro and will be looked upon as someone who will make the jump to the NHL next season. SInce as far back as last winter's countdown, we've heard management talking about how Holzer is ready to step into the NHL (and some rumours circulated that the way for that to happen was for Holzer to be traded).
With Luke Schenn gone and Cody Franson still unsigned, there is an opportunity for Holzer to grab ice time if he can take advantage of it. While he won't be wowing the media and casual viewers with his skating and free-wheeling play as Jake Gardiner has, Holzer is a dependable and steady defensive defenceman, and a mean sonofabitch to boot.
|Prior Rank||JP Nikota||PPP||Chemmy||SkinnyFish||birky||Plea From A Cat Named Felix||clrkaitken||Rank|
Holzer made big moves up most people's rankings, moving comfortably into the Top 15 on most everyone's rankings, and even into the Top 10 for PPP and JP Nikota. SkinnyFish gave Holzer the largest bump up, jumping him from 21 to 14.
You don't hear alot about Korbinian Holzer. There are no highlight reels, no scathing articles denouncing his play, really no publicity of any kind. That's exactly as it should be. Holzer had the path to the NHL that Luke Schenn should have. Slow paced with enough time to let him learn the game without too much pressure on him and next season (whenever that is) I expect that patience to pay off in spades. Barring some freak occurrence, Holzer should have a spot on the bottom pairing all locked up.
The player that comes to mind when I think of Holzer is Chicago's Niklas Hjalmarsson. Somebody who will never put up big points, but somebody who won't flounder when up against good opposition. He's a better Mike Komisarek at a fraction of the cost. His ceiling isn't very high, so that's way I have him at #14, but he's going to be a pretty decent hockey player at the NHL level.
Inferring from the prior rankings, most people saw enough progression in Holzer's game to move him up a few places. Chemmy appeared pretty happy with where he had him before, dropping Holzer one spot from 15 to 16.
For me Holzer is Holzer. He developed a little though I feel that his impending promotion to "7th d-man" has raised his stock before he's actually been promoted to that job, but for me I don't see him as being a possible impact contributor. His role next year on the Leafs will be "cheaper than Luke Schenn was", but we added some good defensive prospects ahead of him.