New York Islanders Josh Ho-Sang on Same Page

New York Islanders Joshua Ho-Sang (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
New York Islanders Joshua Ho-Sang (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

It’s taken four years, but it finally seems that the New York Islanders and Josh Ho-Sang are on the same page. Finally.

Going into 2018-19 New York Islanders Josh Ho-Sang has stated that he has no expectations for the 2018-19 NHL season and that he just wants to listen to the organization. He told reporters: “I just want to listen and soak everything in.”

Since being drafted late in the first round of the 2014 draft it seems that the Islanders and Ho-Sang have been at odds with each other. Neither side are necessarily entirely to blame for the way their relationship evolved.

It’s not like the Islanders didn’t know what they were getting into. When they drafted him 28th overall they knew they were getting a kid who scored 85 points in 53 games, but came with one heck of a character.

Ho-Sang famously told Steve Simmons, before being drafted, that within three year’s he’d be the best player taken in his draft. So far, four years out, Aaron Ekblad and David Pastrnak can debate who of the two is better from the 2014 draft.

Dissolving Relationship

The relationship between Ho-Sang and the Islanders seemed to reach a boiling point at the end of the 2017-18 season when Ho-Sang sat down to speak with Arthur Staple of the Athletic. With Staple, Ho-Sang was earnest and honest and pulled no punches when it came to the way he felt he was treated by the organization.

That was in March of 2018. We all thought that would likely be the end of Ho-Sang with the Islanders. But two months later the New York Islanders brought in Lou Lamoriello to run the club and within weeks, Lou got rid of Garth Snow and Doug Weight.

Josh Ho-Sang must have been overjoyed by the news. While Garth Snow was the one GM to take a chance on Ho-Sang, Garth Snow was also the source of much chagrin. To be fair, Ho-Sang wasn’t without his faults.

Showing up late on your first day of training camp after everything that was said about you, and after you were quoted, again by Steve Simmons before the 2014 draft, saying you wouldn’t be late was a massive misstep by Ho-Sang.

"“If a team picks me, gives me a contract and says you’re not allowed to be late once (he was late twice this season and missed a game for disciplinary reasons) or you’re not allowed to be this or that, I would follow every single rule. I love hockey more than anything in the world. I live, eat, sleep hockey. It’s my passion.”"

That issue was dealt with swiftly and appropriately by the organization.

But from there thing’s dissolved further. Ho-Sang was often scratched in the AHL and when he eventually made the NHL and impressed, he’d eventually find his way back down with little to no reason.

Consider last season when Ho-Sang started out the year in the NHL. He played 22 games with the Islanders and scored 12 points. A slightly better return than the ten points he scored in 2016-17 in 21 games. But yet the team felt he needed to learn more in the AHL.

It seemed that the Islanders felt Ho-Sang needed to learn the defensive side of the game. After all his giveaways were through the roof.

But consider that Ho-Sang is a puck carrier. That’s what he’s good at. His ability to take the puck and bringing it into the offensive zone, with control, is almost unmatched in the NHL. With that naturally comes a number of giveaways. Just look at John Tavares and Mathew Barzal’s giveaway numbers.

Why the New York Islanders felt the need to send him down to learn this lesson is something I’ll never understand and that Ho-Sang clearly didn’t understand either. He belonged in the NHL, but the organization had different ideas.

The Change That Mattered

The New York Islanders clearly wanted Ho-Sang to learn things their way. They just wanted him to listen. We don’t know if Ho-Sang was just blatantly ignoring the lessons, or that the Islanders couldn’t communicate them properly.

Either way, Ho-Sang is all ears now. He’s ready to listen to the lessons that are being given to him and is receptive to whatever the organization has planned.

Maybe it’s because Ho-Sang is in the final year of his entry-level or it has everything to do with the changed made up top with the New York Islanders swapping out Garth Snow and Doug Weight as the GM and coach for Lou Lamoriello and Barry Trotz.

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It seems that the New York Islanders and Josh Ho-Sang are finally on the same page. It’s taken long enough, and whether you blame Ho-Sang or the organization for how this relationship has evolved, it finally seems to be in the right place.