New York Islanders:Josh Ho-Sang
Another NHL trade deadline came and went and the Islanders did not acquire any major talent that would help them improve their team for this year or the long run. The Islanders were making a heavy push to acquire Matt Duchene. Despite the Islanders not making a trade by the deadline, they did call up Joshua Ho-Sang from their AHL affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Joshua Ho-Sang was drafted 28th overall in the 2014 NHL Draft. He was considered a top five talent, but many teams passed on him because they believed he had some attitude problems. The Islanders, not caring about what some scouts believed, drafted him anyway. They believed he had the talent to become a star in the NHL. Along the way to being called up to the NHL, Ho-Sang has faced some bumpy roads. In his second year as an Islander, he overslept on the second day of training camp. The Islanders punished him by sending him back down to the Juniors. After this incident, Islander fans started to question if Ho-Sang could overcome his immaturity and make it to the NHL at all. Even this year, during his first pro-year in the AHL, he was having some trouble in the first half of the season. The Sound Tigers head coach, Brent Thompson, believed Ho-Sang played too inconsistently when he didn’t have the puck. That is why he scratched him from playing at all for a lot of games. After seeing this, I truly believed that Ho-Sang would just be another bust that our incompetent GM picked in the first round of the draft. But eventually, Ho-Sang turned it around. He started to play more consistently and put up more points for himself in Bridgeport. His improved play helped the Sound Tigers win 17 of their last 20 games. Based on his performance and based on the number of players out due to injuries, the Islanders decided to call him up to the NHL. His NHL debut was on March 2 against the Dallas Stars. Ho-Sang was obviously excited for the chance to play in the NHL and he has shown he wants to make the most of it. Having watched Ho-Sang play two NHL games now, I have to admit I am impressed. Sure he has made some rookie mistakes here and there, but you can see his explosive side. He has shown his great speed on almost every shift and his Hockey IQ is second to none. Some of the passes he makes are just so good that his experienced teammates are shocked he was able to do them and are not prepared to receive them. I personally believe that Josh Ho-Sang will continue to improve and become one of the best players in the game. Like Patrick Kane a few years ago, Ho-Sang has shown he has some maturing to do. But Kane realized that he had to change his ways if he wanted to stay in the NHL. As a result, he hired an off-duty police officer to follow him around and keep him out of trouble. He probably could still use some more maturing but at least he was mature enough to realize he wasn’t there yet. So he made sure he would be protected in spite of his still immature self. Josh Ho-Sang has to do the same thing. He has to be mature enough to keep himself out of trouble and I believe he will do so. He has tasted the good life in the NHL and I am sure he wants to stay there. Ho-Sang has the potential to become a force on the Islanders alongside John Tavares but it will be up to him to keep out of trouble and continue to impress the hockey world to make that happen.