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PPP's Top 25 Under 25 - #5 Peter Holland

A part-time Maple Leaf last season, Holland enters the year looking to solidify his place in the NHL as a meaningful contributor.

Francois Laplante/FreestylePhoto

The 2013/2014 season was probably an ultimately frustrating one for Peter Holland.

Drafted in the 1st round of the 2009 Draft by the Anaheim Ducks, Holland had earned an opportunity to break through to the NHL, only trapped behind a number of other established NHL calibre centres, there wasn't really anywhere for Holland to stay. That led to the Ducks cashing in on Holland, when the Maple Leafs were desperate for centres in the fall with Tyler Bozak and Dave Bolland out injured.

In limited opportunities, Holland showed flashes of being a player capable of succeeding in second or third-line duties in the NHLer, enough to convince our panel to debut Holland at number 5 in our list of the Top 25 Under 25.

Birthyear: 1991-01-14 Birthplace: Toronto, ON, CAN
Age: 23 Nation: Canada
Position: C Shoots: L
Height: 188 cm / 6'2" Weight: 86 kg / 190 lbs
Youth Team: Brampton Jr. Battalion Contract: 15/16
Drafted: 2009 round 1 #15 overall by Anaheim Ducks

The limited opportunities came as a result of two different events. The first was in the second half of the season, where Holland was struck with a nasty case of lace bite that left him dealing with significant swelling in his foot and ankle, and unable to play. That was unfortunate, because it seemed to condemn Holland to a role with the Marlies for much of the run-in to the season - though in his limited time with the Marlies, he and Carter Ashton formed a deadly partnership, as Holland scored 10 points in 14 regular season games and a team-leading 15 points in 11 playoff games.

But for Holland, his NHL campaign wasn't as rosy, as he only managed 10 points in 39 games with the Leafs, and this was frustrating for several reasons. The most unfortunate of which was this; for whatever reason, Randy Carlyle seemed to have no faith to play Peter Holland in any sort of role other than fourth line duties, and as we touched upon when talking about Ashton, Carlyle appeared to have some sort of depth perception issue that caused him to completely ignore the fourth line (such as it sometimes was) on his bench.

Over December was one of the only stretches where Holland was routinely used in a regular role (over 10 minutes, and that also coincided with Holland producing 7 of the 10 points he registered this season. When given an opportunity to play with offensively gifted players such as Joffrey Lupul or Mason Raymond, Holland produced. When playing with Colton Orr, or Jay McClement, and playing 10 minutes (almost never any time in the 3rd period), not so much.

The frustrating thing, other than the fact that at 23 years old and significantly cheaper than the other Leaf centres, was that a condition was put on the trade with Anaheim where if Holland played more than 25 games in Toronto, the Leafs would surrender a 2nd round pick to Anaheim (otherwise, a 3rd rounder). That's not really the scenario where you want to playing a young center 5 minutes a game (especially when you've already traded a 2nd round pick in a separate deal, so now you don't have a 2nd round pick for the 4th draft out of the last 5)

The Maple Leafs have a crowded forward group competing for the 14 positions on the team. Most sources seem to believe Holland is expected to make the Leafs, which would probably put him 3rd on the depth chart at this moment. Will he get an opportunity to excel this year? Holland brings a nice package of skill, one that's slightly more direct and less abrasive than that of Nazem Kadri, so it would be very nice to have two young, still developing centres on the team, just entering their best years. Let's hope the Leafs don't screw it up.

Name birky BowerPower Burtch Chemmy clrkaitken Nikota PPP SkinnyFish 67 Sound FINAL RANK
Peter Holland 7 5 4 7 5 5 5 6 5 5

Holland's placement on the list didn't see too much variation between the rest of the group, with the majority of the voters placing him 5th, though he did receive one 4th place vote and a few lower than that. In terms of results, Holland was comfortably ahead of Finn and Percy, but a good distance behind or 4th place entry.

Holland's looked good to me in limited action. He looks like a decent 2/3 line tweener right now. Chemmy

Showed flashes of why he was brought in. Could benefit from a less nonsensical spread of ice time. PPP

Holland debuts on our list on the cusp of being a full-time NHLer, and with a system lacking in too many players under 25 that are already NHLers or are NHL ready, it's not surprising Holland immediately checks in this high.