My Sault Ste. Marie bias is showing, but I’m betting that Kyle Dubas has a stronger bias toward Greyhounds and specifically Mac Hollowell, being that Hollowell was the second last player (12th round, 237th overall) Dubas ever drafted for the Greyhounds, just months prior to being hired by the Maple Leafs in the summer of 2014. It turns out that was a pretty good 12th round pick and the Maple Leafs ultimately invited him to development camp last year after he wasn’t taken in the draft, which tells me that Dubas is still a fan.
Who is Mac Hollowell?
Hollowell is a right hand shot defenceman who was not only eligible for last year’s draft, but whose birthday fell just 11 days after the cutoff for the 2016 draft. That would make him a pretty old draft pick, but his breakout 2017-18 season along with his obvious ties to Dubas make him an interesting candidate as a late round pick, especially since the organization hasn’t shied away from overagers over the last few years (they took five in 2016 alone). Hollowell is a smaller defenceman, listed at 5’10 and just 170 pounds, but what he lacks in stature he more than makes up for in his skill set.
Where is Mac ranked?
What the numbers say about Mac
Prior to this season, Hollowell had put up 44 points in 121 career games (.36 PPG) over two seasons with the Greyhounds before exploding for 56 in 63 this season (.89 PPG).
Hollowell’s 32 points at 5v5 ranked fourth in the OHL among defencemen and his 56 points in all-situations ranked fourth behind highly touted prospects Evan Bouchard, Nicolas Hague and Ryan Merkley according to prospect-stats.com. Further diving into that wonderful resource brings even more encouraging news in regards to Hollowell, as he ranked third among defencemen in estimated points per 60 behind only Bouchard and teammate Conor Timmins.
The powerhouse team Hollowell played on definitely played a role in boosting his numbers as they led the league in goals and had three of the top six defencemen in estimated points per 60 (Timmins, Hollowell and Rasmus Sandin, who is projected to go in the first round this year), but the results are promising nonetheless. Timmins is eight days older than Hollowell, was drafted 32nd overall by the Colorado Avalanche last year, played a big role on the Canadian junior team which captured gold in January and signed an entry-level contract with the Avalanche in March, yet Hollowell kept right up to him in production rate this year while outpacing everybody else other than Bouchard.
Fancy stats tracked by Mitch Brown, which are an incredibly rare resource to have at the junior level, paint Hollowell in a slightly less flattering light, though. Keep in mind this is a tiny sample of eight games, so a lot of it could simply be noise, but it seems he doesn’t shoot much and sets up shots for his teammates at an average rate. The controlled entries and exits are where the team effects really start to stand out, as Hollowell scored in the 94th percentile of controlled entries/60 and 90th in controlled exits/60, while Sandin scored in the 88th percentile in entries, but just the 51st percentile in exits. Sandin ranked well in controlled entry success rate (75th percentile) but they both ranked below the 50th percentile in exit success rate and Hollowell did in entry success rate too. This, to me, says that the Greyhounds likely stressed that dumping the puck either out of their own zone or into the offensive zone was a last resort. Hollowell ranked slightly above average in zone entry denials
His on-ice shot and scoring chance rates were atrocious in this sample, but that tends to be a lot more volatile than the micro-stats over a small sample so it would take a lot more data on that front to really take anything from it.
The Eye Test
There is virtually nothing on youtube for Hollowell except a few videos uploaded by somebody with the username l hollowell *thinking emoji*.
Why the Leafs should draft Mac Hollowell
Hollowell could be a good bet to take a swing on late in the draft as a late bloomer, as his production rate this year would imply. Dubas is evidently a fan of his game on some level, so it wouldn’t be too surprising to see them either take a chance on him in the draft or hope that he is skipped over again and then sign him to an AHL deal as he would be eligible to play there as early as next season.