Hockey Sports : NEWARK, New Jersey Alexander Holtz understands the value of honing daily habits to become the,. New Jersey Devils player he aspires to be daily.
Early in July, the 6-foot-1, 205-pound forward from the Devils skated in Sweden with Devils forward Jesper Bratt and skill coaches and came away with a better understanding of that.
“I’m just trying to take some stuff out of his routine and use in mine,” Holtz said. “It was nice to be around him every day, see how he does it. He’s constantly working and to see how he does it,. With his skating and everything, is important because he’s such a good player.”
Holtz, the seventh overall pick in the NHL 2020 Draft,. Paid attention to the guidance provided by the Devils’ leadership this offseason. During the development camp, which took place from July 11 to 15, he seemed to be in better physical shape.
“I think maybe I lost some (bad) weight but gained some muscles,” said Holtz, who was listed at 195 pounds last season. “That’s what I wanted to do. I have a lot more weeks to work on that before training camp as well.”
Dan MacKinnon, the Devils’ assistant general manager, is happy Holtz paid attention.
“At our exit meeting with him, we told him elite-level conditioning is going to give you the best opportunity to push for a regular NHL spot.” MacKinnon said. “It’s not his shot, it’s not his creativity, it’s being in the best shape of your life.
“That’s one of the reasons we brought him back from Sweden for development camp. We wanted to make sure everything was on track, and he looks great.”
During his time with Utica in the AHL Hockey Sports League last year. Holtz finished fourth on the Comets with 51 points (26 goals, 25 assists) and second with seven power-play goals in 52 games, good for second place overall. In five Calder Cup Playoff contests, he finished with three points (one goal, two assists).
“The Devils coaching staff wants me to be faster and I want to be fast,” Holtz said. “I want to be stronger. I want to make an impact. They want to see that I’m comfortable at this level and play my game.
“I also want to be that guy on the left side on the power play that’s that hammer for one-timers.”
Holtz is still looking for his NHL debut goal. He recorded two assists and twelve shots on goal in nine NHL games last season.
“My goal to be is to be on a line with one of those guys (Nico Hischier or Jack Hughes) and contribute,” Holtz said.
Meghan Duggan, the Devils’ director of player development, thought Holtz’s opportunity to play alongside Hughes and Hischier was rewarding.
“He’s an elite-level talent and he’s got a great knack for the back of the net,” Duggan said. “I think the opportunity he had to join the big club and get a taste of that was really good for him and his development. He’s still he’s a young kid, and we’ll continue to help him understand the small differences between the AHL and NHL.
“We’re excited with where he’s at and how he continues to grow.”
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