The New York Islanders under Jack Capuano played a heavy dump and chase system. But as the NHL evolves, the dump-and-chase isn’t as revered. Carrying the puck through the neutral zone and into the offensive zone is in. And one of the Isles rookies stands out amongst the league.
One of the best players at carrying the puck into the offensive zone is New York Islanders rookie Joshua Ho-Sang. Not only in the Islanders franchise but amongst the National Hockey League.
The other day, Hockey Graphs writer Scott Tierney, based on data from Corey Sznajder, put out a graph that shows the forwards in the NHL and their Carry-in/pass success rate and pass rate.
During his 21 game stint at the end of the 2016-17 season, Ho-Sang was an absolute revelation for the Islanders. We knew he was talented, after a successful junior career with 292 points in 256 games. We knew he ready for the NHL, with 36 points in 50 games with the Sound Tigers. But we didn’t know just how good he’d be at the NHL level.
Outside of John Tavares and Anders Lee, Ho-Sang was probably the Isles best player at the time. Dynamic, direct and massively creative. He was everything he’d billed himself to be since draft day back in 2014.
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Sznajder measured, and Tierney graphed the number of carries and passes that each forward made in the league last season and plotted their success rates in both. The best in either category is the St. Louis Blues Jaden Schwartz, with Steven Stamkos not too far behind. And then comes Ho-Sang.
With an 85.7% carry-in percentage and a 46.4% pass percentage, Ho-Sang stands out amongst the league. Only Connor McDavid had a better carry-in percentage that Ho-Sang. Although #66 beat his buddy in terms of pass percentage.
We all know that Ho-sang passed the eye test to New York Islanders fans. He looked the part in his short stint in 2016-17. But as guys like Sznajder and Tierney crunch and plot the numbers, Ho-sang starts passing the analytics test as well.
Oh. Ho-sang also carried a 100% recovered dump-on percentage. I understand his 21 game sample size is small compared to players like McDavid and Stamkos.
As evidence starts piling up that Josh Ho-sang isn’t just an NHL level player, but an impact NHL level player the more his likelihood of returning to the AHL in 2017-18 diminishes. And by extension makes someone else on the roster expendable. Sorry, Shane Prince.