May 14, 2014
TORONTO- When Peter Holland sat down with Marlies head coach Steve Spott, he made his message loud and clear to the bench boss.
He wants to be known as Mr. Reliable.
“I just want to be a guy who’s counted on in all situations,” said Holland. “If we’re down a goal I want to help the team get back on track…I want to be counted of defensively (too).”
Holland has been a bonus for the Marlies when he’s been available to play and in the first two games of their series against the higher-seeded Chicago Wolves, the 23-year-old has come through with two goals and four points. After missing the team’s first-round series against the Milwaukee Admirals with an undisclosed lower-body injury, Holland returned for Game 1 against Chicago and produced a goal and and two assists. He followed that up with the game’s first goal in Game 2 just 1:04 into regulation.
“Our individual meetings, he was very up front that he wants to be a go-to guy and I like to hear that from a player,” said Spott. “We’ll give him those minutes.”
Holland only played 14 regular-season games with the Marlies because of time spent with the Maple Leafs and time away from the ice with what was described as “lace bite.”
His addition for the playoffs gives Toronto serious depth at the centre position, something they didn’t have at the beginning of the season, and Spott knows the Wolves are having a difficult time trying to match lines in their series.
“What it does, it allows our matchups to be that much more dangerous,” Spott said regarding Holland’s return. “How do you cover off Holland, (Greg) McKegg and Trevor Smith? It gives us that depth up front.
“He’s an NHL centreman and I firmly believe that. His skill set, vision are elite for this level.”
The former first-round pick of the Anaheim Ducks has added value to Toronto’s top power-play unit since his return and along with wingers Spencer Abbott—who also returned from injury for Game 1 against Chicago— and Carter Ashton make up a quality line for five-on-five play.
“He’s a big-game player,” said Spott.
Toronto leads its second-round series 2-0 after taking the first two games on the road. The club will look to go up three games on Wednesday when it hosts the Wolves for Game 3.