New York Islanders prospect Joshua Ho-sang should make his full start in the NHL this season. Is it crazy to expect him to return a Calder Trophy this season? Not at all.
In 2017-18 the New York Islanders should be welcoming three rookies to the roster. Mathew Barzal at center. Ryan Pulock on defense. And Josh Ho-Sang on the wing.
Drafted and developed under the Islanders organization the three represent the next wave of Islanders talent to stock the roster. All have been dominant at their last level of competitive hockey. Pulock lit up the AHL with 46 points in 54 games. Mathew Barzal had a 76 point season. Capturing the Ed Chynoweth Cup and the WHL MVP award.
But of the three, only Josh Ho-Sang proved his mettle at the NHL level.
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Called up to the roster around the NHL trade deadline, Josh Ho-Sang spent 21 games with the Islanders. He’d put up 10 points in the process and electrify the Islanders faithful. We all loved what this kid was giving. Night after night Ho-Sang would put up highlight reel plays. Setting up teammates, dangling around any number of defenders and just being an absolute nuisance for the opposition.
Night after night Ho-Sang would put up highlight reel plays. Setting up teammates, dangling around any number of defenders and just being an absolute nuisance for the opposition.
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So is it wrong to think that Josh Ho-Sang could be the Islanders first Calder Trophy winner since Bryan Berard in 1996-97? I don’t think so. (Seriously, Berard won the Calder? I wanted to write Mike Bossy. Berard just kind-of deflates the statement. Doesn’t it?)
Before going any further I wanted to explain that just because Ho-Sang played 21 games last season doesn’t make him illegible for the trophy. According to the NHL.com, 25 games in the NHL is the threshold. Anything less and the player is still eligible.
What Does It Take?
Looking back at the last five forwards to win the award you’ll see that a 50-60 point season could win the trophy. And at the very least it gets a player in the picture. A 70+ point season should win it.
*Lockout shortened season, Huberdeau’s points were calculated as though he played a full season
Look back at last season. In his 21 games, Josh Ho-Sang put up 10 points in 21 games. That’s a pace of 0.48 points per game. Pace that out for a full 82 game season and that’s 39 points.
And that was in his first taste of NHL hockey. In 2017-18, fresh off that 21 game experience, Josh Ho-Sang should only get better. The NHL.com recently rated his 2017-18 production at 49 points. One lower than Calder competition, Nico Hischier.
Players don’t hit their peak till their 24 or 25. Josh Ho-Sang is only 21. That’s three to four years until he gets to his peak production. There’s no doubt he gets better than the 0.48 points per game he had in his first jog out.
Bridging that 20 point gap to hit 60 seems absolutely possible for Ho-Sang. With an extra training camp under his belt. And another offseason to get stronger and hone his skills, even more, there’s no reason to think Ho-Sang will get better.
Saying Josh Ho-Sang could be int he Calder race next season shouldn’t come off as a far fetched idea. If anything its a rational thought based off of what he did last season and what we could logically expect from him this season.