Joshua Ho-Sang is finally free from the shackles of the New York Islanders organization.
The Islanders chose not to qualify the pending RFA making him an unrestricted free agent for the first since being drafted 28th overall by the Islanders back in 2014. The skilled 25 year old forward has played just 53 NHL games with the Islanders and has bounced around the AHL and the Swedish Hockey League these past two seasons when it was clear that he wasn't in the Islanders long or short term plans. With free agency on the horizon though Ho-Sang is finally in control of his future and according to a report from NHL insider David Pagnotta, Ho-Sang will be signing with his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs, likely on a two-way, NHL/AHL contract.
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Ho-Sang was once a dominant player in the Greater Toronto Hockey League as a youth, dominating with a team that featured the likes of Connor McDavid and Sam Bennett. Now though, Ho-Sang is on the scrap heap while McDavid and Bennett earn millions playing in the NHL. So... what happened? Well, to be frank it begins and ends with Ho-Sang himself. On ice issues mostly stemming from his inability or his unwillingness to play the defensive side of the game is a huge issue. But more than that Ho-Sang's career has been plagued by whispers that he lacks character and that he doesn't have the mental fortitude to play the game at the highest level. He has effectively been kicked out of Islanders training camp twice for sleeping in and missing practice. There are also unsubstantiated reports that he has difficulty getting along with teammates. Let's put it bluntly, some people feel he's an arrogant jerk.
It should be clear to everyone by now that if Ho-Sang does indeed sign with the Leafs that this will be his last chance at earning himself a regular, everyday NHL job. Again, he's a skilled player with excellent playmaking ability but he has a knack for turning over the puck at the worst times in the worst position and then dogging it on the backcheck. That sort of play won't get you anywhere near the NHL. Here's hoping the kid realizes the opportunity he has in front of him.