Photo Credit: Dan Hamilton/USA TODAY SPORTS
A peculiar turn of events has gone down with the Toronto Maple Leafs today, as forward Peter Holland has been left behind for this week’s west coast road trip, while his agent tries to figure out what exactly is going on with his place on the team.
The whole situation is rather weird, given that Holland has played just eight of Toronto’s 21 games this season, including only two in November and none with over ten minutes of ice time since October 19th. On November 22nd, TSN insider Darren Dreger mentioned that the Leafs had placed Holland on the trade market as a result of his in-and-out status in the lineup.
I’m not overly sold that Holland will drive much value on the market as a result. The Leafs waived him with clearance in the summer
, though the fact that it was an arbitration tactic with a hearing just days away probably scared a team that would’ve been interested away. But the fact that he’s barely played, and that he was a once-rated player who now can’t make it on a struggling fourth line can’t be that appealing to the other 29 franchises.
As I pointed out in the same post, Holland’s disappearance coincides with his performance on October 20th against the Minnesota Wild, where he went 1-for-10 in the faceoff dot. The Leafs quickly claimed Ben Smith off of waivers afterwards, and despite weaker offensive production and worse shot-based possession statistics in just about every regard, he’s been favoured over Holland and others, like the later waived (and claimed) Seth Griffith.
The situation has led many to be frustrated, believing that management and coaching staff are overvaluing parts of the game that are romanticized but have little tangible effect rather than playing the players most capable of outscoring their opponents.
For fans and writers, that doesn’t mean a ton outside of some interesting debates, but in Holland’s case, his livelihood lies in the balance here. As a 25-year-old with restricted status this season, Holland doesn’t have a clear path to free agency and even if he did, a lack of ice time diminishes his chances of a team being interested in him. So it’s of little surprise to see Joe Resnick step in to help his client out, likely to ask for one of three doors to be opened; one of increased usage, one of a trade, or one of a waiver placement.
At the end of the day, Holland needs to play hockey to ensure that he has a career at the end of the season, and despite his local roots, the situation is beginning to hit the point where I doubt that he cares too much whether or not that hockey is played with the Leafs. For now, though, he won’t be available for selection against Edmonton, Calgary, or Vancouver.
UPDATE: From Dreger, Resnik has stated that the Leafs will indeed try to trade his client.