It’s another chapter in the Joshua Ho-Sang story.
With the New York Islanders setting their 23-man opening roster and, consequently, assigning Ho-Sang to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, news from AHL camp raised a(nother) flag:
Ho-Sang wasn’t with the AHL team yet, per reports from Newsday and the Connecticut Post:
Josh Ho-Sang wasn’t here with Bridgeport for his 1st practice after #Isles sent him down. Coach Brent Thompson: “As far as I know right now, it’s a couple of days just to collect himself and go from there.” I asked if he does expect Ho-Sang to report: “I really don’t know.” #NHL— Brian Heyman (@bheyman99) October 3, 2019
Quick Sound Tigers catchup: Simon Holmstrom and Josh Ho-Sang not on with them this morning. Holmstrom expected on tomorrow. Ho-Sang, less clear. Pierog, Skarek to Worcester. MacLean, Thomson TBA. (15F-9D-3G on the ice, then.) Captains tomorrow. Now back to football— Michael Fornabaio (@fornabaioctp) October 3, 2019
Turns out there was a reason: Heyman’s Newsday colleague and regular Islanders beatwriter Andrew Gross had the answer: Trade request.
#Isles Lou Lamoriello says Josh Ho-Sang's representative has asked for a trade. Lou is exploring. Told Ho-Sang not to report to Bridgeport until he explores options.— Andrew Gross (@AGrossNewsday) October 3, 2019
Lou Lamoriello told the player not to report — at least not for now? — to recheck the post-waivers trade landscape and presumably prevent any camp injury affecting trade talks. Probably throw in a side of “if your head isn’t with us, then don’t be with us,” too. Arthur Staple of the Athletic also has a quote from GM Lou:
Lamoriello: Even though you know you're being fair and honest with a player, sometimes they don't see it that way. So we take a step back and see what's out there. "Then you can look somebody in the eye and say, it is what it is." Added that Ho-Sang has done nothing wrong.— Arthur Staple (@StapeAthletic) October 3, 2019
#Isles Lou Lamoriello said he didn't want any distractions for players in Bridgeport preparing for AHL opener on Saturday. But if/when Ho-Sang does report to Sound Tigers absent a trade, Lou says Ho-Sang will be invested in the team. "Once he goes to Bridgeport, he’s there"— Andrew Gross (@AGrossNewsday) October 3, 2019
Ho-Sang’s path to and in pro hockey has been riddled with setbacks — several but not all self-inflicted — as well as endless fan debates on how to get the most out of his talent. This is just the latest one.
But he’s also come along way, if training camp words from Lou Lamoriello and Barry Trotz are to be taken at face value, to be close to an NHL roster spot. So it would be a shame if he stopped pushing now. If the Islanders don’t find a trade partner, he’s going to have some reflecting to do.
No trade partner was found for him this summer and he went unclaimed on league-wide waivers this week. But even if they don’t find a trade partner for him now, a team may come calling during the season when injuries hit.
Meanwhile, the Islanders have added other young, offensively talented forwards to the mix, knocking on the NHL door while assigned to Bridgeport.
It’s possible a team will take a low-risk chance on him and he thrives with a fresh start. It’s also possible he finds a very similar situation, bumped to some other team’s AHL squad and battling with other prospects for the coach’s trust.
“It is what it is.”