The end has finally come for Michael Dal Colle, Josh Ho-Sang with the Islanders

The end has finally come for the Islanders with Michael Dal Colle and Josh Ho-Sang.

Yesterday reports came out that neither player was on the list of players to receive qualifying offers thus marking the end of both their tenures with the organization.

Ho-Sang and Dal Colle had their moments with the Islanders but neither lived up to the expectations that came with where they were drafted. Dal Colle only appeared in 111 games with the Isles over four seasons and produced 29 points. Ho-Sang played in just 53 games over two seasons, resulting in seven goals and 17 assists.

Both players being left to find new homes marks the conclusion of two of the biggest “what ifs” for the Islanders in recent memory. Particularly, Ho-Sang. From the moment he first donned an Islander jersey, it was marred by controversy.

When Ho-Sang was drafted, Islanders general manager Garth Snow sat at the dais with the TSN crew at the NHL Draft to discuss the organization’s pick of him. What came next took everyone by surprise. “He’ll fit right in, they shit on me too,” Snow said when asked about his decision to draft Ho-Sang.

That one moment was a coup for Snow — well mostly from his club’s lone fanbase — with the consensus being Ho-Sang was a potential steal for how he ended up falling into the Isles’ lap. Going into the draft, the Toronto native was considered an elite talent and might have gone in the top ten if not for some — how should we put this lightly — “attitude problems”.

We would learn over time those concerns were warranted, as Ho-Sang lacked the maturity it took to make it in the NHL. There were plenty of incidents — some public, some not — that just made things untenable and earned him a rough reputation in and outside the organization. The last three years alone, Ho-Sang only got to play in ten games and the organization even loaned him to Europe for this past season after leaving him off the roster to begin training camp.

Then there’s Dal Colle, Snow’s selection before Ho-Sang — although this one in the top-five — which had more importance and less backlash. Dal Colle was selected by the Islanders with the fifth pick and was projected to be the scoring winger the franchise had been yearning for to skate alongside franchise center John Tavares.

Unfortunately, the latter never occurred. Dal Colle took much longer to develop in the minors than many had hoped and never showed that offensive power he did in juniors at the pro level. He did find some success as a bottom-six forward under head coach Barry Trotz in recent years but never adding anything more in terms of value.

Dal Colle’s departure does open the door for a few other players — Kieffer Bellows, Anatoli Golyshev (both qualified) — to fight for a regular role for next season. That being said, he and Ho-Sang now can get a fresh start somewhere else. They’re each still young (25) and talented enough to carve out NHL careers.

Dal Colle and Ho-Sang not panning out with the Isles after how much was expected of them when they were drafted is sad. A lot of people were rooting for them to succeed. But things just never moved past a certain level for either of them. And now they’re both gone.

 

This is it for Josh Ho-Sang and the Islanders, and just maybe he finally gets it

The New York Islanders are trying it one last time with Josh Ho-Sang.

Yesterday the organization and Ho-Sang, who was a restricted free agent, settled on a deal before the 24-year-old was set to go to arbitration Friday.

The deal was for $700K and 225K.

The agreement from both sides came as a shock to some especially after g.m. Lou Lamoriello’s comments about the situation last week. But as I pointed out a few weeks ago —when Ho-Sang was one of the RFA’s qualified by the Islanders — there still something there between the two parties.

The question that remains now is will Ho-Sang finally get it?

This might be his last chance at salvaging his pro career. For him to do so as a part of the Islanders would be quite the turnaround after the road the team and player have been down.

To say the relationship between Ho-Sang and the Islanders has been anything but rocky would be putting it nicely.

It began the moment the team drafted him in 2014.

Then Isles’ general manager at the time, Garth Snow, received criticism from pundits on Ho-Sang who was said to have been a possible top-5 pick if not for character issues. Ho-Sang then overslept on the first day of training camp in 2015 and was immediately sent back to juniors.

Even after he sparked the club at the end of the ‘16-‘17 season, Ho-Sang got sent back to the AHL early on the following season and wasn’t called back up. The maligned forward got another short stint up with the Isles two years ago, but only lasted ten games.

Last year seemed like it would be the final straw when the 24-year-old requested Isles g.m. Lou Lamoriello to trade him after he was the last forward cut before the regular season. Lamoriello told Ho-Sang to stay home while he tried to find a suitor, but to no avail. Ho-Sang eventually returned to the team, settling in Bridgeport in December after the Islanders lent prospect Oliver Wahlstrom to Team USA for the World Juniors.

There’s been other infractions along the way, but those are in the past.

Now, the ball is in Ho-Sang’s court.

The team has showed their faith in him. And as his agent Patrick Bedell noted yesterday, he’s ready to do anything to play for the Islanders this coming season.

“Josh is ready to give everything he has to earn a spot in the National Hockey League. This contract provides him with some financial security at the AHL level, but he intends to force his way into an NHL line-up,” Bedell told the New York Post’s Mollie Walker.

“We believe this contract best allows for that as well. There was interest from teams overseas, but again, at the end of the day, Josh’s focus is being a contributor for an NHL team. Conversations with the Islanders in furtherance of this deal were strong, and no matter how the upcoming season shakes out, we are focused on achieving our goals. Josh would like to thank the Islanders for believing in him.”

Just hearing those words are a very encouraging sign and a far cry from some of the things Ho-Sang has said in the past. Maybe now he does finally understand what it will take to be a regular in the NHL.

But actions speak louder than words.

He’s going to have to prove it to Lamoriello, Barry Trotz and the rest of the staff.

There are a lot of people who still believe he can be a big part of the Islanders moving forward and helping them continue their recent success. We all know how talented and skilled Ho-Sang is, and the proof is there that the team plays well with him around. It needs to translate even more now — if he does make the team — especially with the Isles coming off an Eastern Conference Finals appearance.

No other organization would stuck with Ho-Sang as long as the Islanders have. They believe he can be a difference maker.

That means something.

These next few months will tell if Josh Ho-Sang has any part in the future of the Islanders.

This is his final chance. He knows it. Everyone else does too.

Maybe he finally gets it now.

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

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.