Islanders: What Kind Of Leap Can We Expect From Simon Holmstrom
By Matt O'Leary
The New York Islanders 2019 first-round pick, Simon Holmstrom is out in Sweden right now. What can we expect from him in year two?
When the Islanders selected Simon Holmstrom at 23rd overall in 2019, it definitely came as a surprise. He wasn’t someone that I, or just about any other scout, expected to go in the first round of the draft.
Holmstrom was playing over in Sweeden up until his selection and quickly moved to the AHL. He played 46 games with Bridgeport and had 15 points (8 goals, 7 assists).
While the performance left quite a bit to be desired, we have to remember his age. Holmstrom was just 18 years old playing in the AHL. It was his first time coming to North America to play and there was definitely an adjustment for him.
One of the things that scare me when trying to project how Holmstrom will progress is his injury history. He missed 13 games last year with an upper-body injury, which unfortunately wasn’t something new for Holmstrom.
He only played 21 games leading up to being drafted in the 2018-2019 season with the HV71 J20 squad. He missed nearly half the season that year but was still fairly productive for HV71 when he was on the ice with 20 points in 21 games.
Under the assumption that the AHL returns this year, he should make his way back to Bridgeport. The goal for him has to be to get the points per game up from last season which was .33. Ideally, that number is closer to .50.
That’s not that big of an ask for someone who was taken in the first round, even if they are just 19 years old. Last year, Kieffer Bellows and Sebastian Aho were the only two who were over .50 for the Sound Tigers, and Wahlstrom was close at .49.
Another goal should be being available. We can’t continue to have Holmstrom miss time, otherwise there’s no way to get a full evaluation on him. This should be strictly an AHL season for him anyway, just get the health and production right.
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There would have to be a ton of injuries for him to get on the ice this year but to expect him to be looking to compete for a roster spot in 2021-2022 seems like a fair trajectory expectation.