Just like your typical hockey fan, Peter Holland
had his eyes glued to the flat screen as he watched last month’s NHL Entry Draft take place at Staples Center in Los Angeles. But unlike most viewers, Holland was able to flash back to his own experience at the draft one year ago, when he sat in the stands surrounded by family and friends, nervously waiting to hear a team executive lean into the microphone and call his name.
“It’s almost like I wanted another shot at it, just to go back and experience it all again,” Holland says about watching this year’s draft. “I’m not saying I want a new team or a higher pick, but that whole experience was great. What an amazing feeling it is to get drafted.”
Back on that June day in Montreal, it was Ducks GM Bob Murray who announced to the crowd and the TV audience that Anaheim had selected Holland with the 15th overall pick. And unlike this year’s Ducks first-rounders Cam Fowler
and Emerson Etem
– both of whom dropped from where they were predicted to be taken -- Holland heard his name called a little earlier than he (and some draft experts) had expected.
“According to a couple of people, I was actually slotted to go a little later,” Holland admits. “So, I was really happy with where I got selected and I couldn’t be in a better place.”
|Holland, seen here a Ducks preseason game last year, had 30 goals and 50 assists in 59 games for Guelph of the OHL. |
This week, Holland’s place is in Orange County, going through summer conditioning camp with 30 other Ducks prospects at THE RINKS – Anaheim ICE. For most of the year, the Toronto native’s home is in Caledon, Ontario, near the pleasant city of Guelph, where Holland just completed his third season with the OHL’s Storm. The 6-2 center overcame a slow start (for him and the team) to put up big numbers in 2009-10, racking up 30 goals and 80 points in 59 games (including one four-goal game). He added three goals and eight points during a disappointing five-game ouster at the hands of London in the first round of the OHL playoffs, during which Holland had a five-point game (2-3=5) in Game 3.
“The team struggled early on and we picked it up later in the season,” Holland says. “All in all, we had a pretty good year. Unfortunately, we went out earlier than we wanted to in the playoffs. But for the most part, it was a good year for me, just getting bigger, getting stronger and honing my skills.”
For Holland, those skills include a deadly shot (despite having a pass-first mentality similar to Anaheim’s own Ryan Getzlaf
), and top-notch defensive instincts that have made him a powerful two-way player. And as much as Holland says he loves it in Guelph, he would like nothing more than to show off those talents in a different locale next season.
“Obviously you have to be patient,” says the 19-year-old Holland, “but at the same time you want to get up here as early as possible. When your dream is to play in the NHL, you’re not just going to step aside because there are some veteran guys playing your position [center]. You work for your position and hopefully take it. But obviously there are some big shoes to fill on this team.”
While it’s dubious for someone Holland’s age to make the opening night roster, he’ll get another look two months from now in training camp. But for now he’s enjoying the whirlwind week with the rest of the Ducks rookies, learning more and more about the inner workings of the Anaheim organization.
|“I know I have the skill to play at this level,” Holland says. “It’s just a matter of doing it. As a first-round pick, I’m going in with a little bit of pressure put on myself to do well. You just go in and roll the dice a little bit and hope it turns out well.” |
“The workouts have felt pretty good and the week is shaping up,” Holland says. “It’s fun because we all come together and get to know each other as guys, not just as competitors out there. This is hard work, but we try to make the most of it and have as much fun as we can.”
That includes a little bit of time away from the rink and the gym, where Holland and the rest of the prospects will enjoy activities that include a Dodger game, Disneyland and an all-camp dinner Friday night.
When it’s all said and done, Holland will jet back to his home in Toronto, where he’ll spend the rest of his summer gearing up for Ducks training camp, hoping he can take one step closer to finding a permanent home in Anaheim.
“I know I have the skill to play at this level,” Holland says. “It’s just a matter of doing it. As a first-round pick, I’m going in with a little bit of pressure put on myself to do well. You just go in and roll the dice a little bit and hope it turns out well.”