When the Islanders drafted Josh Ho-Sang 28 overall in the 2015 NHL draft there were two things known about the young man. He had a knack for controversy and was a dynamic force. And that’s exactly what the Isles are getting.
When Josh Ho-Sang was drafted teams were terrified of what kind of asset they might be getting. Sure he was producing at 1.27 points per game at the junior level, but he also had a boat load of confidence and a bit of arrogance.
Something that generally doesn’t go over well in the NHL ecosystem. Which is why he fell to 22 in the NHL Central Scouting’s final ranking of North American skaters, and then 28 at the actual draft. Nevermind that he was ranked 8th in terms of points per game amongst that very same group.
His attitude was a major concern. Something that would ultimately derail his chances of an NHL career. And, to be fair, for a while, that’s all we heard.
The Narrative Switch
Waking up late for the opening day of training camp last season. Promptly earning him a one-way ticket back to the OHL. Then, this November, after making the Bridgeport squad out of training camp, Ho-Sang was a healthy scratch for not skating straight lines according to Micheal Fornabiao:
"[…] Andrew Rowe apparently in for Josh Ho-Sang to start.“Josh is working hard. He’s continuing to work on his game, work on his habits,” Brent Thompson [Sound Tigers Head Coach] said. “For me, eliminating the swinging, even in practice, little habits. … Maybe he’ll have to watch a game from up top, learning.”Edit, Friday noon: To clarify the jargony: “swinging” refers to skating, as opposed to a more straight-lines, “stops-and-starts” style."
For a while, it sounded like the draft experts were right to take a pass on Ho-Sang. But then something switched and Ho-Sang became that dynamic forward without the controversy.
Before being called up by the Islanders Ho-Sang had 36 points in 48 games for the Sound Tigers. He was on fire, helping the AHL outfit to make a strong push for the playoffs.
Now he’s in the NHL with back-to-back multi-point games and has six in his eight games with the Islanders. None more foreshadowing that a drop pass to John Tavares who scores the game-winning overtime goal against the Hurricanes last night.
Ho-Sang’s start to his NHL career hasn’t been without some controversy. What with his whole number selection and all. Wearing no.66 has ruffled a number of feathers for…reasons.
But with that has also come a player that’s on a .75 points/game pace and a thorn to the opposition’s defense all night long. Whether it be 5-on-5, on the power play, or in the three-man overtime, Ho-Sang is a constant threat offensively.
Josh Ho-Sang is everything the Isles thought he’d be. Thankfully, he’s also way more than a number of other NHL team’s thought he might be. It was a gamble worth taking at the draft, that’s so far paying off nicely for the Islanders.