NY Islanders Simon Holmstrom has been the man with an advantage on the PK

Nov 30, 2023; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; New York Islanders right wing Simon Holmstrom (10) is
Nov 30, 2023; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; New York Islanders right wing Simon Holmstrom (10) is / James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Since making his New York Islanders and NHL debut last season, Simon Holmstrom has flashed impressive elements of his game that have made an impact; they're just not the parts we were expecting when he was drafted in the 1st round (23rd overall) of the 2019 NHL Draft.

Holmstrom played in 50 games as a rookie and was one of the team's most responsible two-way forwards last season while playing on a line with center JG Pageau and veteran Zach Parise. Holmstrom spoke repeatedly about having more to give offensively, and his teammates lauded his skillset. It's always been there, but we weren't seeing enough of it.

While he's had his chance and moments playing on the top line with Mathew Barzal and Bo Horvat, it's again on the defensive side of the game where Holmstrom has made the biggest impact.

Trailing 2-1 in the second period last night in Carolina, Holmstrom picked off a pass and went the other way with Pageau, finishing a 2-on-1 with a beautiful backhander up and over Canes goaltender Pyotr Kochetkov. “Big goal by Homer,” Mathew Barzal said after the game. “That was a turning point of the game probably. It gave us some life."

Holmstrom has six goals, matching last year's total, and half of them have come at shorthanded. The three goals coming on the penalty kill lead the NHL. Per statistician Eric Hornick, he joins Josh Bailey as the only Islanders with three career shorthanded goals before his 23rd birthday. He's the fourth Islander to score three of his first 12 goals shorthanded (Dan Plante -4, Billy Carroll and Dave Lewis - 3).

“He clearly showed some breakaway speed and finished it,” head coach Lane Lambert said. “He scored some big goals for us. He’s extremely smart when it comes to reading plays on the penalty kill, and I think he’s just getting better and better in that role."