When it comes to being a professional hockey player in the NHL, it takes much more than just skill to transform into an elite player. We have seen time after time individuals with an incredible amount of talent come up short or not meet the high expectations that have been bestowed upon them. In order to be considered great or elite, a player must also demonstrate a superb work ethic, always looking to improve his game, as well as a large amount of confidence in his own ability. Luckily for the New York Islanders, they have a prospect that meets all three of these criteria in Joshua Ho-Sang.
The Islanders selected Joshua Ho-Sang with the 28th pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. He immediately became one of the most skilled prospects in the Islanders’ system. Ho-Sang possesses remarkable skill with his hands and skates; and demonstrates the ability to make big plays on a consistent basis. His skill set provides him with the potential to put up big points for his team for many years to come.
The 19-year-old from Thornhill, Ontario has been playing in the Ontario Hockey League since 2012. Ho-Sang spent the first two years of his OHL career with the Windsor Spitfires. In the 2013-2014 Joshua recorded a career-high in goals, assists, and points. Although his point totals were a valuable asset to Windsor, other factors made Ho-Sang’s relationship with the team a rocky one. After playing only 11 games with the Spitfires in the 2014-2015 season, Joshua Ho-Sang was traded to the Niagara IceDogs.
A Little Maturing Necessary
There is no argument that Joshua Ho-Sang possesses the necessary skill to be a dominant force in the National Hockey League. However, Ho-Sang’s personality does not fit the mold of your typical hockey player, especially someone who has not proven himself at the professional level. The young man is extremely confident in his abilities on the ice and is not afraid to share his feelings with others. In an interview before the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, Ho-Sang stated “If I was a general manager and had the first pick in the draft, I’d pick me at number one. In three years, I’ll be the best player in this draft.” In the same interview Ho-Sang shared his disagreements with the prospect rankings stating, “There are guys ranked ahead of me that are nowhere near me.”
It can be argued that Ho-Sang’s on-ice capabilities could have put him close to the top of the 2014 prospect rankings. However, his attitude displayed an immaturity that most general managers did not want to deal with. You can believe in yourself all you want; but do not share those feelings with rest of the world.
A Risk Worth Taking
In reality, it was a blessing that Ho-Sang fell to the Islanders at pick number twenty-eight. Yes, a prospect that is perceived as immature and cocky is going to cause some concern; however, we need to remember the age of that overconfident individual. Did you say and do everything right when you were eighteen? For some us, our maturity level digressed a little bit once we were officially “adults”. Unlike raw talent, off-ice behavior and overall attitude can be improved through coaching and mentoring. Since being drafted by Islanders last summer, Ho-Sang is learning to transform that overconfidence into determination and drive. It is no longer the time to talk about how great he is, it is time to put it on display for the hockey world to see.
Joshua Ho-Sang is going to do whatever it takes to make the New York Islanders roster next season. Realistically, he may not be fully ready to play in the NHL and could end up playing one more season in Niagara. If this happens, you can bet your bottom dollar that Ho-Sang will take the necessary steps in his progression so he is pulling a blue and orange sweater over his head in the fall of 2016.
John Gove is an elementary school educator who writes about hockey in his spare team. Over the past five years, John has covered the game at various levels. Now, he exclusively focuses his coverage on prospects and the developmental leagues.