Nick Holden Continues Strong Play
I was wrong about New York Rangers defenseman Nick Holden. It takes a big and mature person to admit when they are wrong; so kudos to me for being so mature. Holden has been a nice surprise for the team.
Coming into this season, Holden was seen as either a bottom pair or seventh defenseman. On any given night, you can look at the lineup and see Nick Holden paired with Ryan McDonagh. If fans were told before the season that this would be the situation in mid-November, anarchy would have ensued. Yet, the team has been playing relatively well of late, going 7-3-0 in the last ten.
After a questionable major penalty was assessed to Brendan Smith, the team was forced to play a man down up by two. Holden was part of the reason the team killed off the penalty. Nick Holden has forced himself into the lineup and has exceeded expectations.
Holden his Ground
*Feel free to eye roll at that subheading.*
One of the biggest problems to start the season was the breakout. One of the big problems in the playoffs last year was the breakout/clearing the puck late in games. Thanks to some great analysis, we see a sliver of how Holden has helped improve these areas.
So your stats say Nick Holden isn’t a good defenseman? The game tape begs to differ. Here’s Holden’s shift in the final minutes of tonight’s game. pic.twitter.com/U6R9Odnq5p
— Forever Blueshirts Radio (@4B_Radio) November 12, 2017
Against the Ottawa Senators, a similar situation happened where Holden made a smart pass along the boards that led to a safe breakout. We’ve also seen Holden clearing the man screening the goalie providing a lane for the goalie to see the shots coming in.
Nick Holden last season had a strong start to the season statistically. Personally, I believe that this caused Holden to be caught in between roles. Nick Holden, currently, is playing exactly how he should and it has been quite the boost to the team defensively.
They say that doubters are the biggest motivator, so my goal during the summer was to doubt Nick Holden so much it would motivate him to have a bounce-back year. You’re welcome Rangers fans.