The New York Islanders made a splash at the end of the first round of the 2014 NHL Draft, seizing an opportunity to lock up highly-skilled winger Joshua Ho-Sang with the 28th overall pick.
Ho-Sang, a native of Toronto, Ontario, scored 85 points (32 goals, 53 assists) in 67 games with the Windsor Spitfires this past season, his second OHL campaign.
“It feels absolutely amazing (to be an Islander),” a beaming Ho-Sang said. “According to everyone else they are taking a chance on me and I am really grateful that they’re doing that and I’m going to give them everything I have.”
The Islanders traded both of the team’s second-round picks (35th and 57th overall) to the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for the 28th overall selection.
General Manager Garth Snow said Ho-Sang was a player the team had targeted and didn’t shy away from the opportunity to land their guy.
“We didn’t want to take a chance,” Snow said. “It was similar to the Brock Nelson situation. We said we had this currency, the extra picks, so let’s use them and get the player we identified. We didn’t want to wake up tomorrow and have any regrets, so we went for it.”
Ho-Sang was labeled as “outspoken” leading up to the draft, which may have been the reason why the supremely talented winger fell to the final three picks of the first round. Ho-Sang was preparing for a potential return on Saturday with the hopes of hearing his name in the second round. He was elated when he was taken by the Islanders and a management group that believes so highly in him.
As the General Manager and leader of the Islanders push to return to the playoffs this upcoming season, Snow did not mince words when standing up for one of the brightest young prospects now in the organization when asked about how Ho-Sang had been criticized. In two interviews, Snow gave blunt comments describing the promise he sees in the young winger and his excitement to have Ho-Sang leaving the building in an Islanders jersey.
“It’s amazing the fact that they traded two seconds away to pick me,” Ho-Sang said. “That just shows that they believe in me and that’s all I really need, a team that believes in me. I’ll give them everything that I have and push until I can’t breathe. I want to give them (the Islanders organization) everything I have because you know it’s not just about you, it’s about your family and the Islanders, after today, have become my family.”