Back in 2019, the New York Islanders surprised a lot of people by going with Simon Holmstrom 23rd overall. Holmstrom was projected as a second-rounder that year, but Lou Lamoriello liked what he saw and sprung at the opportunity to draft him.
Since being drafted, Holmstrom has played two COVID shortened seasons in the AHL with Bridgeport. During his first season, Holmstrom struggled. He had 15 points (8 goals, 7 assists) in 46 games while posting a -15 rating.
Unfortunately, he didn’t take a step forward in his development last season. Sure, it was shortened to just 24 games but seven points (4 goals, 3 assists) wasn’t the result Brent Thompson was hoping for.
Heading into his third season in the AHL, it’s fair to expect a jump up in his production. First and foremost there won’t be a shortened season stunting him, and also he should be playing on a better Bridgeport team.
The talent around him should be vastly improved, and when speaking to our very own Islanders prospect expert, Michel Anderson, he expects Holmstrom to play top-six minutes on a much more well-rounded team.
It’s still far too early to toss around the “bust” word with Simon, but due to his injury history and then lack of production in the A, it’s easy to see why fans are concerned with him going forward.
Plus, it’s not like the Islanders have had a great history of developing forwards recently. Outside of Oliver Wahlstrom, Kieffer Bellows, Michael Dal Colle, and Josh Ho-Sang haven’t exactly worked out well.
In a 72 game season in Bridgeport, it would be nice to see him up around a .5 points per game mark. It’s still not perfect but it would be a dramatic improvement. Let’s say something like 20 goals and 36 points sounds like a reasonable expectation for him.
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Now 20 years old, the age excuse begins to go away. As someone who was taken in round one, right or wrong, it’s time for some production to come into his game.