By AJ Manderichio
As part of the AnaheimDucks.com annual Player Reviews, we will be featuring a different Ducks player throughout the coming weeks, in numerical uniform number order. Each review will include key stats and an outlook for 2016-17.
The extra man on any given team isn’t the sexiest role. All 30 clubs have these players – the seventh defenseman or 13th forward – spending a considerable amount of time pushing through practices and pregame skates without playing many games.
It’s not a position most seek, but one important for sustained success during a long and grueling season.
Being the “extra man” requires the same amount of dedication and preparation without always seeing the same rewards. It requires the ability to be ready at the drop of a hat for a one-game appearance or steady spot in the lineup. When the opportunity knocks, that player needs to be ready to answer.
Korbinian Holzer was always ready to answer the call.
The German defenseman made his long-awaited Ducks debut in 2015-16. In 29 games, Holzer posted three points – all assists – and 10 penalty minutes. Frequently paired with either Hampus Lindholm or Cam Fowler, Holzer never drew the easy assignments. He held his own, though, playing a sound defensive game and helping contribute offensively.
The advanced stats back Holzer’s performance. At even-strength, he posted a SAT% just north of 50-percent while starting over half of his shifts in the defensive zone. His unblocked shot attempts, or USAT, were a tick higher, checking in at 51.15% at even strength.
For an explanation of SAT and USAT, click here.
Holzer had his chance to play hero during the IIHF World Hockey Championships.
His game-winning goal against the Team USA propelled Team Germany to the quarterfinals of the tournament for the first time since 2011. It was his first goal – and point – of the tournament.
THE LIGHTER SIDE
Despite limited playing time, Holzer remains an affable presence in the locker room. Whether he’s photo-bombing on the team’s official Snapchat account or keeping things light during a game, Holzer is usually quick with a smile and joke.
He’s also pretty good on camera, as he and Kent French kicked off the ‘Kickin’ It with Korby’ web series late last season.
Holzer brings a solid, two-way defensive game when he’s inserted into the lineup. While he won’t play every game, his versatility remains key. He can skate on any pairing, taking on tough defensive assignments while holding his own in the offensive end. Over the course of 82 games, the Ducks lean on their depth to solve injuries and ineffective play. With a new one-way contract, it’s clear Holzer is a key part of that depth.