After a self-described difficult year, Josh Ho-Sang said he's ready for a "fresh start" at New York Islanders Rookie Camp.
"I'm happy with the opportunity to get a fresh start," Ho-Sang said after the first day of on-ice drills for the Islanders prospects. "It's not just me. I think a lot of people are looking to find a way to win and to have success is the most important thing. We're focused on that as a group."
Ho-Sang started last season with the Islanders, but was ultimately assigned to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Dec. 15 and was not recalled. The Isles' 2014 first-round pick (28th overall) said last season was a hard one for him, but the adversity will help as he prepares for Islanders Training Camp.
"I had to become stronger last year mentally and for me it was a great learning experience," Ho-Sang said. "I've never had a year like I did last year and it's not even to do with hockey, it was just a hard year for me. I feel happy and healthier and I'm excited for the year."
Video: PHI@NYI: Ho-Sang deflects shot past Elliott
Ho-Sang will be proving himself to a new Islanders regime this year, as General Manager Lou Lamoriello and Head Coach Barry Trotz joined the organization over the summer. Ho-Sang, who has 22 points (6G, 16A) in 43 NHL games, said he's had constructive conversations with both the Hall of Fame GM and the Stanley Cup winning coach.
"It's all been positive," Ho-Sang said. "Every conversation I've had with them since the moment that they became a part of this organization has just been teaching. I'm taking everything they say and implementing it into my daily routines, on-ice routines at the rink, everything and it's a work in progress, but I'm working really hard."
Ho-Sang said he's focused on his preparation this summer, which include arriving at workouts and skates up to an hour early. Bridgeport Sound Tigers Head Coach Brent Thompson - who was leading drills on Friday and coached Ho-Sang last season - said the 22-year-old made a good first impression at camp.
"He was working, he was competing, asking questions and engaged," Thompson said. "He's maturing every year and this is another step. He's coming in, he's a little bit older. The experience he's gone through, hopefully he takes that and learns from it and moves forward."
Video: Rookie Camp: Day 1
Ho-Sang is one of three players at prospect camp with NHL experience - Sebastian Aho and Michael Dal Colle are the others - and said being among the rookie roster is another motivating factor for him as he competes for a spot with the Isles.
"It's great to be around [the rookies], it's great to see the young talent that we have coming up," said Ho-Sang, who skated on a line with 2016 first-round pick Kieffer Bellows and Scott Eansor. "You get to see everyone who is chasing you and you really want to get on that NHL team because these guys are hungry."
Thompson said he wants to see Ho-Sang continue to develop his play away from the puck and ramp up his intensity.
"If he gets that, the sky is the limit for him," Thompson said. "I think he has a good opportunity here for him this year. With Barry and the staff they have and the players they've worked with it's a clean slate and everybody is moving forward."