Olympics watch key for Islanders fans

Toronto Marlies v Laval Rocket
Toronto Marlies v Laval Rocket / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages
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No NHL players at the Olympics is a massive bummer. Everyone has been looking forward to this best-on-best tournament for years now. But now that NHL players won't be there, New York Islanders fans might find themselves wondering who to watch?

You likely have your national team to cheer for during the tournament. But outside of that are there any familiar faces that Islanders fans focus on? Absolutely here's a list of every player who once wore an Islanders jersey (even if just for the pre-season media stuff).

New York Islanders at the Beijing Olympics

Josh Ho-Sang (Canada)
We're all familiar with the saga between Josh Ho-Sang and the New York Islanders. There's a long story there that has been finally put to rest this year when Ho-Sang left as a free agent and signed with the Toronto Marlies of the AHL.

Things are going well for Ho-Sang this year. He has eleven goals and 20 points in 27 games for the Marlies. Ho-Sang's previous career-high for goals at the AHL level is ten from 2016-17. He's on pace for 31 goals. Again, things are going well for Ho-Sang this year.

And now he's rewarded with a spot on Team Canada. Something this Canadian never thought this would happen. I'm personally excited for the young man and will be watching him closely in Beijing.

Finland: Leo Komarov, Ville Pokka
Need your uncle Leo fix? The Islanders favorite uncle will represent a strong Finnish team in Beijing. The Finns are expected to do well at the tournament. Leo won't be leading the line offensively but he'll play a key role for the Finns.

Remember Ville Pokka? He never played for the Islanders, the second-round pick in 2012 was sent to Chicago in the Nick Leddy trade. He's now with Avangard Omsk where he became a KHL champion last year.

Kristers Gudlevskis (Latvia)
Again, never played for the Islanders at the NHL level, he did play for Bridgeport. The Isles acquired him for Carter Verhaeghe in 2017. Verhaeghe is now an NHL regular with the Florida Panthers and now has 69 points over his last 84 games.

Gudlevskis made a recent move to Brynas in the SHL. He's only played once but things are going well for the Latvian.

Frans Nielsen (Denmark)
After being bought out by Detroit, Frans went to Germany where he joined the Berlin Polar Bears and has 14 points in 20 games. It's nice to see such a loved former Islanders still playing well and getting a chance to represent his country at the Olympics for the first time in their history.

Jan Kovar (Czechia)
He never actually played a competitive game for the Islanders, only a preseason tilt or two and then when he didn't make the cut for the NHL squad he refused to report to Bridgeport. He was a strong player at the KHL level when the Isles signed him and is now a strong player at the Swiss level for Zug with 32 points in 35 games.

Tom Kunhackle (Germany)
Handsome Tom will head to the Olympics for the Germans. Playing with Skelleftea of the SHL now, Kuhnhackl has ten points in 32 games. Not a bad return for Kuhnhackl.

Aaron Ness (USA)
Unlike some other players on the list, Ness played for the Islanders. Between 2011 and 2013, Ness suited up for 29 games and put up three points from the blueline. He spent most of his time with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers where his best year was in 2014-15 with 45 points in 74 games.

Now he can rep the US for the first time since 2007.

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