It would have been the easy move for NY Islanders General Manager Lou Lamoriello to send Simon Holmstrom to Bridgeport - as a way to keep Ross Johnston on the active roster - but Holmstrom wouldn’t allow it.
Playing himself into the opening night roster through his performance at training camp and preseason, Johnston became an expendable piece. And for the most part, Holmstrom's play has backed up that decision.
Lined up alongside Bo Horvat and Mat Barzal on opening night, Holmstrom struggled to find his groove in the early going and found himself being a healthy scratch just three games in.
Seemingly looking to prove Lane Lambert wrong, Holmstrom has run with his most recent opportunity and has looked like one of the Isles' best forwards.
With goals in his last two games, Holmstrom has three in the season, halfway to last year's total through only nine games.
Aside from his solid two-way play, Holmstrom has been one of the Isles’ most effective penalty killers. His third goal of the season came while playing a man down on Saturday night. When he’s not scoring goals, he’s been effective in preventing them, logging the fourth most short handed minutes among Islander forwards (13:15).
“He’s been great,” said linemate JG Pageau. “He’s been a bug part of this team, and you guys are just starting to see why. I’ve always thought he was a good player, but now, when he’s playing with confidence like that, I think he can make a difference out there. It's fun to see him play, and I'm lucky to center with him. He's a good player that works hard, has a good stick, and he's a good finisher. Playing with confidence is huge.
That confidence displayed by Holmstrom has been on full display recently. Scoring two goals in his last two games coming off solid defensive play, Holmstrom has been rewarded offensively. If he can continue his upward trajectory, Holmstrom will help replace the hole left by the absence of Zach Parise.