For a little while there, it looked like the NY Islanders lost out on their 22nd overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft when they selected Simon Holmstrom. He made the leap from Sweden to North America as soon as he was drafted and played in the Islanders farm system down in Bridgeport for three-plus seasons before getting recalled to the varsity squad for the first time in his career, a recall that would stick as Holmstrom remained in the NHL through the end of the 2022-23 season.
NY Islanders 2022-23 player report card: Simon Holmstrom
At 22 years old, the former first round pick finally made his NHL debut. He hasn't quite performed like you'd imagine a first round pick would, but he's still very young and showed the capability to be an effective NHLer. Although he was drafted as an offensive player, Holmstrom developed into a defensively responsible forward this season who head coach Lane Lambert could trust wouldn't be a liabilty on the ice.
That's not to say, however, that Holmstrom didn't show offensive ability, either. Holmstrom ended the season with six goals and nine points in 50 games. They're not numbers that are going to blow anyone away, but he showed playmaking ability and silky mitts at times that lead one to believe he will continue to develop into a reliable middle-six two-way forward.
Although he didn't score often, Holmstrom did show the ability to score timely goals when the Islanders needed a boost. For instance, the Isles still lost 5-2, but on Jan. 21st, the Islanders were trailing 2-0 at home in the first period before Holmstrom rilfed the puck on the back of a toe drag move and beat Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Frederick Anderson to get the Islanders on the board and back within the game cutting the Canes lead to just a goal. It was a beautiful play that we won't expect to happen often, but he's at least shown he has the capability to provide that kind of skill.
Holmstrom's spot on the roster next season shouldn't be etched in ink, however, a big summer of development for the young forward could certainly maintain some necessary youth in an aging Islanders team. Because he showed signs of positive development in his rookie season but only contributed on the scoresheet occassionally, Holmstrom gets a C+ in his rookie season.