In the midst of a 13-game winning streak, the New Jersey Devils aren’t about to change the lineup. So young players that are unable to get any action will need to play somewhere. Today, Alexander Holtz and Kevin Bahl have both been loaned back to the Utica Comets of the AHL.
Holtz, 20, was the seventh overall pick in 2020 and has shown flashes of offensive brilliance in his limited NHL experience. It has been limited though, with the young forward only making it into four games this season and 13 overall.
Last year, Holtz was a dominant force for the Comets, scoring 26 goals and 51 points in 52 games. He was obviously going to outgrow the minor leagues but with an inconsistent NHL performance, found himself on the outside looking in as things started to go right in New Jersey. While he may already be better than the vast majority of AHL players, he needs to play somewhere.
Bahl, meanwhile, brings a rather similar story. The hulking 6’6″ defender was beating up on AHL competition last season, and ended up seeing 17 games with the Devils. This year, after New Jersey made several additions to the blue line, he’s been limited to just three. It doesn’t do the 22-year-old much use sitting in the press box every night, even if there is some value in practicing with the big club.
It wouldn’t surprise anyone to see one or both back soon, but this will allow them to get back in the swing of things and shake off any rust that may have accumulated.