BROSSARD – Patrick Holland won’t be flying under the radar much longer.
After waiting patiently for seven rounds, the Lethbridge, AB native finally got the call every teenage hockey player dreams of. Holland rewarded the Flames brass for making him their final pick of the 2010 Draft – 193rd overall – by doubling his point total from 36 in 2009-10 to 62 in 2010-11. Then he nearly doubled it again a year later.
“I’ve always kind of considered myself [a late bloomer]. I was drafted to Tri-City in the sixth round, but when I was 16 I was still pretty small,” explained the 6-foot, 175-pound winger. “Every year I feel I’ve gotten a lot better. Point totals don’t always mean too much since your ice time is going up and that’s the main contributor, but I still feel like every year I’ve made some big strides in my game.”
Holland is taking part in his first development camp as part of the Canadiens organization, joined by 31 other Habs hopefuls. Specialists in skating, conditioning, shooting and mental skills are all on hand to give the players some tricks of the trade, but Holland has made sure to keep the learning going even after the classroom sessions are done for the day.
“They put me in a room at the hotel with Ian Schultz and I’ve been asking him a lot of questions about Hamilton and the lifestyle and what I would have to be prepared for if I make the transition,” he shared. “We’ve all been living away from home for a while now so that’s not too big of a deal but we’ll be living on our own now with our buddies and taking care of ourselves and paying bills and stuff like that which will be a little different. With that responsibility you have to stop acting like a kid and at the same time you have to keep that kid inside you so you’re still having fun playing the game.”
Sitting side-by-side in the Canadiens dressing room for a week has also helped give some future Bulldogs a head start on team building for next year.
“You have guys like [Michael] Bournival, [Morgan] Ellis, [Brendan] Gallagher, [Jarred] Tinordi and all these guys who could all be playing in Hamilton next year so we’re trying to make relationships now,” explained Holland. “You are kind of competing for a job with them but at the same time you want to see them succeed.”
Having racked up an incredible 109 points in 72 games last season – including 84 assists – Holland will likely be the guy responsible for setting his teammates up for success next year
“I’ve always been a passer. I read the ice pretty well and I do actually get a lot of chances to score, but that’s one thing I have to work on: bearing down on those opportunities,” he admitted. “I take a lot of shots but I think my passes end up being a lot more beneficial to the team so if they put me on a line with guys who can put the puck in the net, I’ll find them.
“We’ll see what happens, but I would love to be on a line with a guy like Bournival or Gallagher next year,” he added with a grin. “If I just get them the puck, they’ll definitely get me some assists.”
Shauna Denis is a writer for canadiens.com.
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