New York Islanders fans left the 2019 draft, with a sense of missing out. With their first-round pick that year, they selected Simon Holmstrom 23rd overall instead of say Philip Tomasino or Connor McMichael.
Both Tomasino and McMichael were taken with the next two picks and both are currently in the NHL now while Holmstrom has been in the AHL since being drafted in 2019.
And for the first few seasons after being drafted, Holmstrom hadn’t been living up to his first-round status. We’re now in year three since the draft and it seems that things are finally going in the right direction.
New York Islanders Simon Holmstrom’s big step forward
Through the Bridgeport Islanders first eight games of the season, Simon Holmstrom now has five points. Keep in mind, Holmstrom had seven points through 24 games during the 2020-21 AHL season.
Of course, the season is far from over, but scoring 72% of his points in a third of the games played is an incredible step forward for the young man. Now, consider the leap he’s taken in NHLe so far this year.
With those five points in eight games, Holmstrom is playing like a 20 point NHLer. That’s a 10 point jump from last year and nearly double from his first post-draft season when he was the youngest professional hockey player in North America.
*NHL is a formula that translates one player’s production rate to the NHL.
What’s at the heart of Holmstrom’s success this year? Is it all self-driven or is it because of the players around him? Remember, the Bridgeport Islanders got a significant talent boost this year. Honestly, the answer is a bit of both.
On the one hand, the talent level around Holmstrom received an upgrade this season and that’s helping a lot. These new players can play to Holmstrom’s talent level. But Holmstrom’s skill is also speaking for itself this year.
That combination of individual skill and team skill is helping the Bridgeport Islanders to a 0.500 record early in the year. Sure, 0.500 is only good for sixth in the AHL’s Atlantic Division, but it’s one heck of a step up from the team’s 0.375 from last season.
Just like Holmstrom.
Simon Holmstrom still has a way to go still, but he’s taken a good step forward early this year. Finally. Assuming this continues, we might see what the Islanders saw in 2019.