The NY Islanders' front office strayed far from projections when they selected Simon Holmström with their first-round pick in 2019. Selected 23rd overall, Holmström has not developed as quickly as they might have hoped. Projected as a day two selection in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, Holmström was listed at 27th among international skaters by NHL Central Scoutings final rankings.
This past season, Holmström has taken the biggest leap in his development having his best season since his draft year with the Bridgeport Islanders. The Tranås, Sweden native tallied 12 goals and 31 assists (43 points) in 68 games which were good for third in scoring on the team.
"An offensively skilled player who competes hard. Holmström is a good skater and stands out with really good hands and impressive puckhandling skills. Quite shifty and a player that can do the unexpected offensively. Has a good wrister, and his two-way game is underrated. Great character and team player. "- Elite Prospects
Holmström is known as a playmaker more than anything. He is a very good skater with terrific vision and hands. He tends to show a reluctance to pull the trigger when the puck is on his stick while playing in Bridgeport, which is surprising since it was considered a strength during his draft year.
At the 2021 World Junior Championships competing for Team Sweden, Holmström finished the tournament with five assists in five games, while only managing three shots on goal. He has improved over the past season in Bridgeport finishing with 107 shots-on-goal. Still, this puts him at under two shots per game - something he must continue to show improvement on.
With Holmström's style of play, it is unlikely that the Islanders would insert him anywhere but the top-6. He is not a physical player and needs to use his skill set to have any impact. Whether Lou Lamoriello feels he has shown the ability to deserve top-6 minutes is another story. He could see some NHL action this season, depending on injuries throughout the season, but that now seems more unlikely due to the emergence of Aatu Räty and William Dufour who have likely surpassed him on the depth charts. Still, he's started to change the narrative about his development and has a chance to become an NHL regular if he continues his upward trajectory.
This upcoming season will be the most important of Holmström's professional career. He already has three seasons under his belt since being drafted and has not even been on the radar of making his NHL debut. As the last first-round pick for the Islanders, Holmström will need to continue to improve on the success he showed last season.