MONTREAL – Using the expression “on fire” to describe Patrick Holland’s game over the past month would be a serious understatement.
Over the course of his last 17 games, the Canadiens’ prospect has been hard at work in the WHL racking up a staggering total of 35 points. Making his way onto the scoresheet in every one of those games, Holland’s point streak now spans all the way back to the beginning of February – a fact that’s causing Habs fans to sit up and take notice.
|Patrick Holland has been on a tear with the Tri-City Americans|
In discussing his recent success, the 20-year-old forward made sure to heap ample credit on his two linemates, who not surprisingly, have been enjoying stellar stretches of their own.
“At the beginning of February I got put on a line with two really great offensive players. Since that point, we seem to be putting up numbers together on a nightly basis. We play very good hockey together, but I don’t think I’ve even raised my personal game all that much – playing with those two guys is helping make all the difference,” explained Holland of his linemates, Brendan Shinnimin and Adam Hughesman. Shinnimin currently sits atop the WHL scoring ladder, while Hughesman ranks fifth and Holland, seventh.
For his part, Holland has stayed true to his reputation as a skilled play-maker, leading the WHL with 81 helpers. Over the course of his current streak, 31 of his 35 points have come in the form of assists.
“When I was young and starting out, my father always taught me to skate with my head up whenever I had the puck. Because of that even when I was only nine years old, I could stick-handle the puck without actually having to look at it,” shared Holland on his affinity for setting up goals. “All that translated into me developing good vision on the ice as I got older and that helped me to make the right decisions most of the time.”
With the ink still fresh on his first professional contract signed on the March 7, 2012, the Lethbridge, Alberta native was more than happy to have been able to get the deal done – especially with playoffs right around the corner.
“It’s a big relief to have that contract signed. Now, it’s one less thing to worry about for the rest of the season. I haven’t been a member of the Montreal organization for a very long time at this point, but they’ve already treated me better than I ever would have imagined,” expressed Holland who was acquired by the Canadiens in early January, considered by many a footnote in the Cammalleri-Bourque transaction with the Calgary Flames.
“That’s fine with me. I’m the kind of player who would rather develop under the radar anyways,” continued the Flames’ 193rd overall pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. “I felt like in the end, I’d be able to be a bigger piece in that trade than it might have seemed. That’s always your goal when there’s a trade – to make the team that went out and got you feel like they made the best deal possible. It hard to do sometimes, but that’s what you want.”
With the kind of skills Holland continues to display as part of the Americans, it would seem like he’s well on his way to making that goal a reality.
Vincent Cauchy is a writer for canadiens.com. Translated by Justin Fragapane.
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