With the New York Islanders new change in management, Josh Ho-Sang gets a fresh slate to start off with in 2018-2019.
2017-2018 was a disappointing season in a lot of ways for the New York Islanders. For some reason, Josh Ho-Sang was blamed for a lot of the Isles issues early in the year despite those issues remaining long after his banishment to Bridgeport.
As the season wore on and the team plummeted to the bottom of the division the Islanders refused to give Ho-Sang a shot. In 22 games last year, Josh had 12 points. With 43 NHL games under his belt, Ho-Sang has 23 points at the NHL level. That’s a pace of 42 points (.51 PPG) over the course of an 82 game season.
Fans seemed to turn against him as the team did as well in 2017-2018, but that’s going to change this year. Barry Trotz had some high praise for JHS
"“He’s got NHL skill, he’s got NHL ability. From my standpoint, there are certain expectations we are going to have for him on and off the ice. I think he realizes a lot of his things in the past, where he got himself in maybe a little bit of, I don’t want to say trouble, but just in a situation where he comes across maybe poorly, that’s just a young man who is just growing up.”"
He does have NHL skill, he even displayed it in flashes last year. He had four points in six games before he was sent down the first time. In the early parts of the season, he made Brock Nelson watchable.
Brock had three goals in his first five games and Ho-Sang had an assist on all of them. The two actually worked rather well together on a line and if the Islanders plan on keeping Nelson in the mix a pairing with Ho-Sang seems like a necessity in order to get the most out of him.
He’s NHL ready, I just can’t see how the Islanders fit him in with the amount of forwards they have right now. You have Anthony Beauvillier, Mathew Barzal, Jordan Eberle, Anders Lee, Jan Kovar, Josh Bailey, Brock Nelson, Andrew Ladd, Valtteri Filppula, Leo Komarov, Matt Martin, Casey Cizikas, Cal Clutterbuck, and Ross Johnston under contract. Oh yeah, and prospect Kieffer Bellows should be in the mix too, so that’s 15 guys and then 16 if you include Ho-Sang. That’s nuts.
The Isles would be wise to play both Bellows and Ho-Sang this year, so they get NHL experience but with the offseason additions, it appears it will be unlikely that they both see ice time unless there are injuries.
Ho-Sang can still be a part of this team’s future and with a young core of Anthony Beauvillier, Mathew Barzal, Oliver Wahlstrom, and Kieffer Bellows. The Isles can have an impressive, young forward group by as early as next year if they clear up room for it.
Seeing guys like Nelson, Ladd, Komarov, etc. getting playing time over Ho-Sang is going to be a storyline that drives me up the wall in 2018, I can feel it already. The fact that this front office seems willing to work with Ho-Sang is a positive step in itself though. We just might have to deal with him in the AHL to start off the season, that doesn’t mean he’s a bust, they just may not have the room.