Pantorno: Josh Ho-Sang needs to stay up and play with Islanders

New York's developing talent can't be shuttled between the NHL and AHL anymore.
Josh Ho-Sang is too big a talent to be playing in the AHL, writes Metro New York sports editor Joe Pantorno. (Photo: Getty Images)

New York Islanders winger Josh Ho-Sang is one of the more promising young players in the NHL. At 21 years old, he has shown flashes of brilliance as an elite stick handler and the promise of becoming a solid scorer. 

 

But immaturity both on and off the ice has stifled his growth in the league. Playing in just six games at the start of the 2017-18 season, Ho-Sang was sent down the AHL in late October after being benched for taking extended shifts and meandering out of position. 

 

Regardless, he formed an immediate relationship with Brock Nelson on the Islanders' third line, recording four assists in those six games. 

 

What looks like a season-ending upper body injury to Nikolay Kulemin and a knock that had Anthony Beauvillier on a day-to-day status opened up an opportunity for the Islanders to recall Ho-Sang from Bridgeport. 

 

He took full advantage of his return, scoring a goal during Saturday's 5-2 win over the St. Louis Blues. He helped create the play with a dynamic zone entry before dumping the puck deep in the zone and making his way to the front of the net to receive a pass from Alan Quine and slot a wrister under Jake Allen. 

It was just another reminder of what the Islanders have; a talent they need to stop sending down to the minors.

Without a doubt, Ho-Sang had and will have growing pains in the league whether it's a turnover or not backchecking or staying on the ice too long. But these are issues that will seem minor if he meets his offensive potential. 

In order to meet that potential, he needs consistent time with the Islanders. The problem is, Ho-Sang was called up on an emergency basis, meaning he would have to report back to Bridgeport if Beauvillier is good to go. New York can lift the emergency tag off him at any time and make him just a regular recall, which is something they should consider. 

Five points in seven games with a plus-one rating is a much better output than some that are receiving regular playing time. Beauvillier has four points in 13 games and has a minus-eight rating while Jason Chimera has just two assists and a minus-three rating in 17 games. 

In a competitive and rapidly improving Metropolitan Division, the Islanders need to roll out as much offensive talent as they possibly can in order to support an inconsistent defense and goaltending combination. 

Ho-Sang would be a step in the right direction. 

 

 
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