It was never going to happen for Josh Ho-Sang with the New York Islanders, but for a long while, fans wondered whether it would work out elsewhere. A good number of them were rooting for it to happen. Now, after being loaned to Sweden, playing one season back in the AHL with the Toronto Marlies, and one game last year in the KHL, he is contemplating retirement.
According to Sport Express, the 27-year-old has notified Ufa Salavat Yulaev, his KHL club, that he could be calling in a career, though he is still discussing the situation with his family.
David Alter, who covers the Toronto Maple Leafs for The Hockey News, also reports that for Ho-Sang to return to the KHL team this season, he has to become a Russian citizen, which is also factoring into the decision whether to end his professional career. Ho-Sang signed with the Marlies, the Leafs AHL, after a Professional Tryout (PTO). He scored 16 goals and 19 assists in 47 games during the 2021-22 season.
"Now he is thinking about ending his progressional (hockey) career," Salavat technical director Rinat Bashirov said in the report translated from Russian. "In his latest messages to us, he said that we can easily start hiring the legionnaires (non-Russian players) we want."
Gifted with great individual skills, Ho-Sang flashed his talent with the Islanders during the 2016-17 season, scoring four goals and six assists in 10 games. The 2014 1st round pick (28th overall) wasn't able to carry that momentum forward the following year, scoring two goals and ten assists in 22 games, and his chances of breaking through on the roster diminished after GM Lou Lamoriello and Barry Trotz were brought in for the 2018-19 season as his playmaking skills were less valued in a structured defensive system. That year, he appeared in 10 games, scoring one goal and one assist.
In 2019, he requested a trade looking to re-establish his career. He ended up sitting out the first part of the season with Bridgeport before being loaned to the San Antonio Rampage, where he appeared in six games. He was then loaned to Orebro of the SHL for the 2020-21 season before getting a chance with the Maple Leafs organization