Editorials

Islanders: Reasons Lou Lamoriello would qualify RFA Josh Ho-Sang

New York Islanders forward Joshua Ho-Sang (66) (Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders forward Joshua Ho-Sang (66) (Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports) /
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The New York Islanders are likely to give Josh Ho-Sang a qualifying offer. Here are a few reasons why.

In his end of season press conference, New York Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello gave us all a few nuggets to chew on as we all wait to see his master plan materialize.

Along with talking about Mathew Barzal, the Islanders UFA situation, as well the what’s happening between the crease, Lou spoke about RFAs and that one or two of those RFAs may not receive a qualifying offer.

And Josh Ho-Sang isn’t one of those players

according to Arthur Staple

.

Two Camps

On its surface that’s a strange development. Josh Ho-Sang and the Islanders organization haven’t seen eye-to-eye since they drafted him 28th overall in 2014. Ho-Sang spent most of the season on the sidelines or away from the organization in some capacity.

After failing to make the NHL squad for the 2019-20 season, Lou told Ho-Sang to stay home while the Isles tried to work out a trade. By late December no trade had materialized and Ho-Sang was allowed to return to the Sound Tigers to continue playing. Maybe playing actual hockey would have piqued some GM’s interest to trade for him.

It didn’t. As the trade deadline passed, Ho-Sang was loaned out to the San Antonio Rampage for the rest of the season after playing just 16 games for the Sound Tigers.

Months sitting on the sidelines and then being sent away to play for another team doesn’t scream: “stable relationship”. And it certainly doesn’t say that a qualifying offer is pending.

But it seems that the Isles will give Josh Ho-Sang his $917,831 qualifying offer. There are two schools of thought on why the Islanders want to give Ho-Sang a qualifying offer rather than take the easy out and allow him to become an unrestricted free agent:

  1. Nothing for free: There’s no reason to simply give players away. An NHL GM’s job is to manage their assets. Letting Josh Ho-Sang go for free isn’t great asset management. If Lou can get even a late-round pick it’ll be better than getting nothing in return.
  2. He’s got a shot: With the Isles currently in cap hell, bringing in a dynamic forward for less than $1 million could be a good idea.

Lou will never tell us which camp he’s in, but I have my doubts that he’s setting up a tent in the “He’s got a shot” camp. It’s certainly not impossible for Lou Lamoriello to try and bring in Josh Ho-Sang.

Again, he’d be cheap (assuming he signs that qualifying offer) and Ho-Sang has shown – over a small sample size – that he can be productive at the NHL level. Ho-Sang isn’t the goal scorer the Islanders need, but he’s a great setup man.

I’ve wanted Josh Ho-Sang to get a run with the Isles for years now. But I’ve since made peace with that desire. To me, this is Lou trying to manage his assets and make sure he gets something out of Ho-Sang.

By giving Ho-Sang a qualifying offer, the Isles keep Ho-Sang’s rights for another year. Even if he doesn’t sign the offer. The Isles could allow Ho-Sang to go play elsewhere while retaining his NHL rights. I think that’s the likely play here from Lou.

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