The New York Islanders are bringing back their young, oft-criticized forward in Josh Ho-Sang after settling their arbitration case on Tuesday morning.
According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, the two-way contract will be worth $700,000 should he play in the NHL and $225,000 should he spend 2020-21 in the minors.
Ho-Sang, now 24, has been an enigma amongst the Islanders’ ranks for years now as he’s been unable to break into the NHL side on a full-time basis. Since being taken in the first round of the 2014 draft, Ho-Sang has appeared in 53 career games with the Islanders, posting seven goals and 17 assists.
But he’s had a short leash ever since arriving in New York, a byproduct of his reputation as a problem starter while in juniors.
Despite showing a skillset that is comparable to some of the top passing playmakers in the game, Ho-Sang has been mired in the minor leagues with apparent attitude issues not helping his case.
In 2018, the head coach of the Islanders’ AHL affiliate in Bridgeport, Brent Thompson, called Ho-Sang “a baby” with “a lot of growing up to do,” after the winger said he was “burning years off his NHL career.”
He certainly had the right approach heading into training camp last year, even if he did seem a bit despondent with reporters.
“I don’t know. I think that’s up for me to kind of create and then [for management] to give me the chance,” Ho-Sang said. “I think it’s both. And I take responsibility for what I can control. They can do whatever they want.”
Ho-Sang — who has been outspoken at times — was re-assigned from Bridgeport to the St. Louis Blues’ AHL affiliate in San Antonio, a clear indication that the Western Conference side was kicking the tires on the forward. However, nothing came of it.
Because his value is as low as ever, it would be difficult for the Islanders to find a suitable deal to trade him, so one would figure that this will be his last chance to cut it with the organization. At the end of the day, this is a skilled winger that possesses plenty of upside when on the ice. Now it will be up to him, Barry Trotz, and the organizational depth to bring it all together.