Islanders prospects report: Josh Ho-Sang’s mixed reviews in Sweden

Dec 29, 2018; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New York Islanders forward Joshua Ho-Sang (26) skates the puck up ice against Toronto Maple Leafs in the first period at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 29, 2018; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New York Islanders forward Joshua Ho-Sang (26) skates the puck up ice against Toronto Maple Leafs in the first period at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports /

This week’s big news in regards to New York Islanders prospects was the debut of Josh Ho-Sang with SHL side Orebro. The 2014 first-round pick (28th overall) was sent on loan to Orebro to get more playing according to Sound Tigers GM Chris Lamoriello. The AHL schedule is only 24 games long this year.

I know some might take opposition with the term “prospect” when used with Ho-Sang but until we know Josh Ho-Sang’s full potential he’s still a prospect in my eyes.

Ho-Sang played in two games this week for Orebro, and from what I saw, there was a lot to like and a few questions.

His speed and puck skills were on full display. You couldn’t find a better player on the ice when it came to holding the puck or moving it around. He was also easily the quickest player on the ice and certainly the best on his edges. Check out this spinorama for a scoring chance.

But what was missing from his game was that vision Ho-Sang is also known for. In his second game, Josh was in on a two-on-one but opted to hold the puck, wrap around the net, and was eventually disposed of the puck. A player with his skill should have been able to execute the pass for what could have been an excellent scoring chance. At the very least he should have taken the shot. He did neither and the danger would pass.

Moments like that will clearly leave Orebro head coach Niklas Eriksson frustrated.

He’s only two games into his start in a new city, a new country, a new culture, and a much larger ice-surface so I’m not going to read into this too much. But as Ho-Sang said in his intro to Orebro fans, they’ll like a lot about his game, but maybe not everything.

New York Islanders prospects with potential for next level

This week I wanted to focus a bit on players who could be ready for the next level. These are players who’ve clearly risen above their current league and ready to move up (and one who should be here to accelerate his development).

Robin Salo (Orebro)
Season Stats: 36GP, 5G, 20A, 25pts, 21:50 ATOI

I’ve been saying it for weeks now, but Salo has clearly outgrown the SHL. The second-round pick from 2017 is a great two-way defender. He’s responsible in his own end and knows how to take advantage of an opportunity in the offensive end. Like on his most recent goal. Watch how the slot opens up and Salo pounce to bury the puck.

While there’s no guarantee with what happens at the end of the season, it would be irresponsible for the Islanders to allow Salo to become an unrestricted free agent on June 1st.

Collin Adams (UND)
Season stats: 18GP, 6G, 11A, 17pts

Adams had a breakout year in 19-20 with 28 points in 35 games. Now as a senior, he’s building off that strong year with 16 points in 17 games for the second-ranked University of North Dakota program.

Just like Salo, Adams can become a UFA this year (August 15) if the Isles don’t sign him. With little center depth, the Islanders can’t allow him to walk. Along with his near point-per-game production, he’s a good defensive player and a great faceoff man (56.7% FOW). He’s ready for the AHL in 2021-22.

William Dufour (Voltigeurs)
Season stats: 12GP, 8G, 7A, 15pts

He’s having an incredible year with the Voltigeurs. He just ended an eight-game point streak that saw him score eight goals and four helpers. With 15 points in 12 games, the 2020 fifth-rounder is on pace for an 85 point year (over a full 68 game QMJHL season).

He’s in year three of his junior career, so it’s not necessarily a bold claim that he’s ready for the next level. With his skill, he should be ready at this point (he’s a former 6th overall pick at hte QMJHL draft). But what’s impressive is how he’s become a much larger offensive threat this year. He could very well be the gem of the Isles 2020 draft class.

Ruslan Iskhakov (TPS)
Season stats: 24GP, 3G, 11A, 14pts

Ok, this probably going to raise some questions because he isn’t exactly “killing it” in Finland. But with his skill set, the Islanders should really have him here in the AHL where they can more closely watch his development. Much the strategy they’re using with Simon Holmstrom.

When the season is over he should be in Bridgeport where the Islanders can switch him from center to the wing. I think he’s ready for the professional game at the North American level.

Quick Updates

Henrik Tikkanen (IPK)
Season stats: 9GP, 2.55GAA, 0.901SV%

He wasn’t on the roster for a bit, but we’ve located him. Tikkanen is in fact still with KalPa. He returned as a backup the other day. KalPa has a back-to-back on the 5th and 6th so I expect he plays one of those games.

Alexander Ljungkrantz (Brynas)
Season stats:
J20 – 16GP, 8G, 7A, 15pts
SHL – 13GP, 0pts, 1:55ATOI
Hockeyettan – 9GP, 6G, 3A, 8pts

He didn’t dress as Brynas’s 13th forward nor did Stromsbro have a game recently, meaning Ljungkrantz had a bit of a break.

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Here’s the rest of the prospect pool for the Islanders:

Christian Krygier (Michigan State): 18GP, 1G, 2A, 3pts
Anatoly Golyshev (Avtomobilist): 45GP, 12G, 15A, 27pts
Jacob Pivonka (Notre Dame): 18GP, 1G, 3A, 4pts
Ben Mirageas (Providence): 16GP, 1G, 6A, 7pts
Logan Cockerill (Boston University): 4GP, 4G
Reece Newkirk (Melville Millionaires): 6GP, 4G, 8A, 12pts
Alex Jefferies (Merrimack College): 11GP, 4G, 6A, 10pts
Matias Rajaniemi (Pelicans): 24GP, 1G, 5A, 6pts, 14:20ATOI