Holding onto Holzer

Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

For reasons beyond my comprehension, the two-year contract extension handed out to 25-year-old Korbinian Holzer yesterday generated reactions beyond “oh, alright” on Twitter.

Unless you’re predisposed to criticizing minor decisions with little downside, what is there to hate?

Worst case: The Leafs have signed a relatively young, homegrown depth defenceman for a deal below the 900k salary required for a one-way contract to count against the salary cap if the player is in the minors. Yes, he takes up a SPC slot, but you need cheap depth options in your organization.

The best case is that Holzer, he of 18 games, develops into a dependable last pairing defenceman for the team and gets paid a cap-friendly 725k/850k to do it for the next two seasons.

Yes, he’s made mistakes and is out of his depth in his current role. He’s also shown enough to indicate he can play at the NHL level if he continues to round out the edges.

In the short term, I’m interested to see how Carlyle and Nonis start sorting out the situation on defense over the next month. There seems to be an excess of bodies and a need for a top 4 defenceman. We need to find out if Gardiner is ready to take on that role for this season sooner or later (Liles also deserves another look), and if not I’d suggest Nonis pursues some trade options with intent. He’s not going to land our 1c before the season’s out, but an experienced top 4 rearguard who can hold his own could go a long way for this team in the playoff hunt. Of course, at least one body has to go out before a new one comes in.

It all seems pretty complicated, but I’m sure it will become much clearer with time. The path Nonis takes will be dictated by results. Whether it’s part-thanks to or in spite of his play, Holzer so far has those going for him.

A few Wednesday morning links…

Korbi’s Kontrakt
Jeffler’s take on the signing.

Right Place, Right Time
What to do with pending UFA Tyler Bozak. If cap money were no object I’d say sign and keep him as your third line center for next season.

Maple Leafs-Sens preview
Both teams are tied at 28 points and will play their 24th game (half way) tonight.

Leafs face dilemma when Lupul returns from injury
I’d start him with Kessel, bump JvR to either Grabo’s wing or Kadri’s, with MacArthur taking the other spot, and one of Orr or McLaren playing on line 4 rather than both.

Remember Kadri’s goal if he struggles later in the season
From Michael at VLM.