Christmas is a time for miracles, but I’m not sure even Frank Capra could have seen this one coming.
After over three months away from the team, winger Joshua Ho-Sang is returning to the Islanders and will head to their AHL affiliate in Bridgeport, per multiple reports (and then the team). The first place to report the news was... Ho-Sang’s Instagram feed, which is par for the course when you think about it.
Why was he away in the first place? Woof. It’s a long story. Basically, Ho-Sang - who’s played parts of three seasons with the Islanders since being drafted at the end of the first round in 2014 - didn’t make the team out of camp and was placed on waivers. When he was wasn’t claimed by any other NHL teams, his representative asked Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello to find a trade so Ho-Sang could get a fresh start with another organization. Lamoriello, who has never lost a game of chicken in his life, said he’d do what he could but told Ho-Sang not report to the Sound Tigers in order to not become a distraction. That was in early October.
Josh Ho-Sang, who creatively announced a return last night on his Instagram page (66jhosang), is heading back to AHL Bridgeport.— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) December 17, 2019
Fast forward to today. the return could just be a matter of a hockey player needing to play and a team needing a talented, if mercurial, player more than either needs their space. Or it could be about still finding a trade. Or it could be about a roster spot suddenly opening up because of another young guy going to World Juniors.
Via Arthur Staple’s report in The Athletic:
Ho-Sang’s return and the Isles announcement Tuesday morning that Wahlstrom would be loaned to the U.S. team for the World Junior tournament that begins next week in the Czech Republic, are linked.
Bridgeport needed Ho-Sang regardless, but now with him back in the fold, the organization can breathe easier in sending Wahlstrom to a World Junior tournament where the 19-year-old can get the confidence back in his game. Wahlstrom had just three goals in 20 games for Bridgeport and none in the past 12.
Further reports from this morning indicate it was Ho-Sang who broke the impasse.
On Ho-Sang, Lamoriello said JHS reached out to Chris Lamoriello and asked to join BPT. Decision was made by Chris L. and Brent Thompson to bring Ho-Sang back.— Arthur Staple (@StapeAthletic) December 17, 2019
(In case you’re just joining us, “Chris L” is Chris Lamoriello, Lou’s son and the Sound Tigers’ GM)
Ho-Sang’s demotion from camp and waiver placement wasn’t due to any personality issues, only his performance in camp. The ironic thing about this whole saga is that, with the amount of injuries to forwards the Islanders have sustained so far this season, his original time in Bridgeport might have been a short one in the first place.
Ho-Sang has scored seven goals and 17 assists in 53 career NHL games, all with the Islanders. Over 100 AHL games, he has 18 goals and 49 assists.
And so we begin the next, and perhaps unlikeliest, chapter in the Islanders-Ho-Sang marriage. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of shape Ho-Sang reports in. He had been training at home in Toronto at the Bio Steel camp he attends every summer. Maybe he comes back the same skilled freelancer he was before, or he comes back jacked as hell like an actor training to be in a Marvel movie. As always, we’ll just have too wait and see where it goes.
For right now at least, it’s back to Bridgeport.