Josh Ho-Sang getting a qualifying offer signals Islanders still see something in him

Rob Taub

Josh Ho-Sang still seems to be a part of the New York Islanders’ future.

Yesterday, Ho-Sang was tendered a qualifying offer from the Isles along with seven others players — Mathew Barzal, Devon Toews, Ryan Pulock, Mitch Vande Sompel, Kyle Burroughs, Parker Wotherspoon and Grant Hutton.

News came out last week that the Islanders were expected to offer Ho-Sang a deal according to his new agent Patrick Bedell. This came as a shock to many who believed his time with the organization had finally reached its demise. The 24-year-old Toronto native has had as contentious a relationship with the Isles from the very beginning.

Starting with him oversleeping the first day of training camp in 2015, to g.m. Lou Lamoriello asking him to stay home after he requested a trade and sitting out the first ten weeks of last season after not making the big club out of camp, and a laundry list of other events, there really hasn’t been a dull moment for the 28th overall pick from 2014. That’s why it still befuddles some as to why the Islanders haven’t just sent Ho-Sang on his merry way.

But there could be a reason for that. Maybe, just maybe, Lamoriello and his staff still see obviously see something in Ho-Sang in a positive light.

The talent has always been there with Ho-Sang. It still is. He had ten points in 16 games after returning to AHL Bridgeport last December; another three in six games when he was loaned to the Blues’ affiliate in San Antonio at the trade deadline. That’s never been the issue. Ho-Sang’s age too — he still being just 24 — leaves a lot to be desired; the Islanders are still trying to get younger despite an aging core and Ho-Sang remains one of those younger assets. Truthfully though, it’s always been his inability to grasp the defensive game and somewhat his character.

Those two things have kept him from succeeding at the NHL level after he came shot out of a cannon in the second half of the 2016-17 season. And for a franchise like the Islanders, where the organizational emphasis instilled by Lamoriello and head coach Barry Trotz the last three years is ‘we over me’, a personality like Ho-Sang at this point in time seems like it wouldn’t be in the cards. Yet, he we are.

Ho-Sang is still is a vital piece to the Islanders despite a lot of people saying he has next to no value. And there’s no question he can definitely still help them in a couple of ways, whether he’s still with the team or not.

Who knows, Ho-Sang could be a part of a package deal at the draft — the draft is tonight and tomorrow — to bring an established scorer to the organization. Or it’s possible he gets dealt as a way for Lamoriello to add some draft capital. Or even further to that, Lou and Co. had a serious sit down with Ho-Sang and made it clear they want him to be a difference maker for this team as they forge forward toward contending for a Stanley Cup over the next several years. Some forget, beyond Oliver Wahlstrom and Kieffer Bellows, the franchise doesn’t have those big time young guys who possesses speed and skill at the forward position. Ho-Sang is really one of the very few.

However you may perceive it, the Islanders aren’t giving up on Ho-Sang. For him to get qualified again, it shows there still something to be had. We will find out soon what his future with the organization may be depending if he accepts the offer or not.

But for now, Ho-Sang still has a place in this organization until further notice.