In the home stretch of the Swedish regular season, Linkoping, from the SHL side, was fighting to avoid the crash. With 12 games to go this season, the struggling team have signed on loaned Josh Ho-Sang New York Islanders.
The talented forward just took a loan with SHL side Orebro before joining Linkoping. Orebro ended Ho-Sang’s loan due to the striker’s form of play behind the rest of the squad. To be fair, the rest of Orebro’s squad had been playing competitively for five months. Ho-Sang had not played since March 2020 when the season was cut short due to the pandemic.
Joining Linkoping’s struggling side in mid-February, there was some belief that Ho-Sang could step into the squad and get consistent playing time as they tried to avoid relegation.
Linkoping ultimately avoided getting into a relegation battle. In that final 12-game streak, they went 6-5-1. But Ho-Sang would only play four games and pass all five of eight as a healthy scratch.
What happened to New York Islanders forward Josh Ho-Sang in Linkoping?
Ho-Sang didn’t hit the ice for Linkoping until the end of February. His first match was on February 23. Paperwork issues forced him to stay on the sidelines for the first three games with his new team. The team tried to sort everything out as quickly as possible, but unfortunately couldn’t do it fast enough.
When he finally hit the ice, Ho-Sang scored two goals in four games. But her ice time was starting to decrease as the loan lasted. In the third game he played a little over ten minutes and in the fourth game he played a little over seven minutes. He did not see the ice again the rest of the season.
Why? With the healthy stripes piling up, natural rumors began to circulate across social media about a player just not conforming to his surroundings. But speaking with Linkoping Managing Director Niklas Persson is far from the case.
The only reason he hasn’t been in the roster is because of competing with the team for places in the roster. We have had a lot of injured guys who have become very healthy.
He hasn’t been playing for a long time and needed some time to get in shape. We knew that if we had finished in the qualifying round to stay in the league, we would need him and it was our goal to prepare him for that.
Josh has been an absolute pro here with us, he worked hard on and off the ice to get in shape to play. He was great in the group and tried to contribute in any way he could to help the team.
I’m sure Ho-Sang was frustrated that he didn’t have any playing time in his new environment, but to the sound of things he did everything he should have done to get into the squad and be a valuable member. of the team. His seemingly positive attitude, even in this frustrating situation, will go a long way in improving his reputation and maybe give him a chance to play after that.
Cynics will say that no GM will speak negatively about their own player, even if it’s just a loaner. And it is certainly true. But Persson was only honest here. It was still the plan for Ho-Sang.
Unlike his Swedish counterparts, Ho-Sang has experienced limited playing time over the past two years. Since requesting a trade after the 2019 camp and before playing his first match in Sweden, Ho-Sang has played 22 matches. By the time Ho-Sang arrived at Orebro on his first loan in Sweden, they had played 31 games. this season. That’s how late he was. As Persson said, Ho-Sang “needed time to get back in shape.”
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What’s next for Ho-Sang now that the SHL regular season is over?
It seems that a return to the Sound Tigers is unlikely for him. The Islanders sent him to the San Antonio Rampage (now the Henderson Silver Knights) at the end of the 2019-20 season. Could he be loaned to another AHL team?
Perhaps. While the Sound Tigers only have eleven games left, the Silver Knights, for example, still have 18. Even serving a quarantine period could see him playing a number of games.
Whatever happens, it seems clear that Ho-Sang and the Islanders are destined to end their fractured relationship this year. Ho-Sang will become a Group 6 UFA at the end of the season. The loan spell wasn’t necessarily successful, but he was able to train in the SHL and certainly contributed to his reputation as a team player based on what his Linkoping GM had to say.
It should help him wherever he ends up.