Things are off to a good start for Simon Holmstrom at the Bridgeport Islanders pre-season camp. In their first exhibition game, the New York Islanders first-round pick from 2019 put up a goal and an assist in the 4-3 win over the Hartford Wold Pack (New York Rangers affiliate).
Holmstrom has been in the Islanders system for two years now (this will be his third), and he still isn’t challenging for an NHL spot. This has to be the year Holmstrom steps up and becomes one of the Islanders top prospects.
I bet he does it.
New York Islanders Simon Holmstrom should have big year
So think about that for a second. Holmstrom, who’s a 23rd overall pick from 2019, is not one of the Islanders top prospects. Heck, when it comes to the Isles prospect pool he’s not even in the top half according to my prospect rankings
With an 8.692 NHLe* from his 2020-21 season -across all competitions – Simon Holmstrom ranks 22nd out of 30 prospects (excluding goalies).
*NHLe is a stat that uses translation factors to compare the production from various hockey leagues around the world as if it took place at the NHL level. So, Holmstrom’s play last year amounted to essentially a nine-point player at the NHL level.
Even his growth rate, again according to my internal rankings, isn’t anything spectacular. He’s right in the middle of the Islanders prospect pool in terms of growth rate over the last four seasons at 14 of 30.
And look, none of that likely surprised you. Holmstrom hasn’t exactly stood out since the Islanders drafted him in 2019.
But this is the year that changes. This is going to be a big year for Simon Holmstrom.
Holmstrom will play a top-six or even top-line role for the Bridgeport Islanders this season alongside some stronger veteran players like Jeff Kubiak, Chris Terry, or Andy Andreoff. Last year he spent a lot of time with Koivula and Timashov on his line and it didn’t go too well.
With better veteran players around him, Holmstrom should be surrounded by players who can open up the ice for his playmaking to stand out.
This will be a big year for Holmstrom. He might not make some fans forget that Philip Tomasino was drafted one spot after Holmstrom and that Tomasino finished third in AHL rookie scoring last year with 32 points in 29 games. But this should be a big enough year for Holmstrom to push for an NHL spot in 2022-23.