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Holmstrom Relished Chance to Learn at Isles Development Camp

Simon Holmstrom soaked up his first Islanders Development Camp experience

by Sasha Kandrach KandrachSasha /

Simon Holmstrom had a pretty clear objective for his first New York Islanders Development Camp: learn as much as possible. 

Holmstrom, the Islanders' 2019 first-round pick (23rd overall), took in information from everywhere he could - the Isles coaching staff, training staff and camp veterans. For a freshly-drafted 18-year-old, it's a whirlwind week, but a worthwhile one. 

"It has been unbelievable. I've really enjoyed it. I'm very grateful to be here," Holmstrom said of his first development camp. "I'm just trying to look and learn as much as I can, try to take in as much as I can. Take from the guys who have been here for a long time. Listen to the coaches." 

Islanders President and General Manager Lou Lamoriello said drafting Holmstrom was a "unanimous" decision among the scouting staff, but Development Camp was the coaching staff's first on-ice introduction. 

Video: Development Camp: Simon Holmstrom

After a week's worth of on-ice and off-ice work, Holmstrom said the coaches want to see him continue to develop his north-south game. That's fine by the shifty Swede, who prides himself as a finesse forward that loves the gritty areas of the rink; driving to the net and flashing his sharp stickhandling while doing so.

"The game here is a little bit different than Sweden. I think I have to play more north-south game, drive to the net harder and play a bit tougher," Holmstrom said. "I think I matched up pretty good [against prospects at development camp]. I know I have a lot more in me to give. I know I can match better. I think it was an okay camp. I have more to give. I'm really looking forward to it." 

Holmstrom capped the week-long development camp by scoring in the five-on-five scrimmage - which is separate from the team's annual Blue and White Scrimmage. 

Holmstrom completed his second season playing for HV71's J20 team in Sweden's SuperElit league. The 6-foot-1, 183-pound right-winger compiled 20 points (7G, 13A) in 21 games and won a gold medal representing his country at the U-18 World Championship. He's slated for another year with HV71 next season. 

Video: Simon Holmstrom's Draft Day

Long Island is a long way from Sweden, but Holmstrom had a familiar face with him at the Isles Development Camp in goalie Linus Söderström. The two were both a part of HV71's system though their four-year age gap kept them on separate teams. Holmstrom's father, Jonas, is also an assistant for HV71 and was previously the head coach of the HV71 J20 team. Holmstrom was thankful for his fellow countryman as he experienced being in New York for the first time and professional hockey demands firsthand.

Armed with that knowledge and the expectations from the Islanders, Holmstrom will look to apply what he's learned back in Sweden. 

"It has been awesome," Holmstrom said with a grin. "I'm really looking forward to this season and trying to keep things going and trying to develop as much as I can as a player. Hopefully, I will be a pro as soon as possible."

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