Valtteri Filppula has been activated from IR, necessitating a roster move by the New York Islanders.
It’s not the move most were expecting.
To make room on the 23-man active roster, the Islanders sent Joshua Ho-Sang back to Bridgeport. Ho-Sang had played the last 10 games — to very promising on-ice results — but he drew the “loan” call instead of Michael Dal Colle or Ross Johnston.
Neither Ho-Sang nor Dal Colle require waivers to be sent down; Johnston would, but he’s on a pretty hefty contract and is a good bet to pass through unclaimed if the Islanders use that option. Tom Kuhnhackl requires waivers, which he passed through once in preseason, but he seems to have “veteran” status where they’d rather not do that to him.
Still, Johnston is an extra forward who is in the press box more games (11 GP so far this season) than not. And it’s not a waiver/games accumulated move: Both Ho-Sang and Dal Colle have one season left of waiver exemption (this one) and wouldn’t hit the exemption-defying 160 games mark even if they played every game this season.
So the real move here is who the Islanders want on their third and fourth lines right now, with Jordan Eberle back in the lineup and resuming his normal spot in the top six. Ho-Sang had some nice early chemistry with Filppula, but maybe they don’t see it that way. Or maybe they want to further to evaluate Dal Colle’s prospects of helping in that role, where he’s been steady but hardly a driver of play. Or perhaps just give Bridgeport a different jolt, with the Sound Tigers having lost three in a row.
This!— Travis Flynn (NDRE) (@NDRedEagle) January 7, 2019
This is why I like Ho-Sang with Filppula. Improve the weakest aspects of the team, rather than trying to top-off the strongest.... Filppula does have enough skill to combine with Ho-Sang. (And with Toews added in, NYI has substantial offensive ability among the 6 D-men.) https://t.co/RqbQ3GGSDp
Or, one more “team character” test to the sometimes outspoken Ho-Sang?
Perhaps JHS’ final test is a demotion and staying silent for three days.— Not That I Particularly Care (@KeithLHHockey) January 8, 2019
Regardless, you know there will be more on this debate, because you don’t have to be a Ho-Sang booster to find it surprising. Sub-optimal. Because although it hasn’t translated into goals yet (two points in 10 games), Ho-Sang’s effect has been noticeable, with the Isles having an outstanding share of the puck when he’s on the ice.
And to think, we probably wouldn’t even be having this part of the conversation if Andrew Ladd hadn’t been hurt long term.