Toronto Maple Leafs Give Josh Ho-Sang a Great Opportunity

Josh Ho-Sang #26 of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (Photo by Gregory Vasil/Getty Images)
Josh Ho-Sang #26 of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (Photo by Gregory Vasil/Getty Images) /

Former first round pick Josh Ho-Sang is at the Toronto Maple Leafs Training Camp on a PTO.

The Toronto Maple Leafs are giving Josh Ho-Sang a chance to prove himself by allowing him to try out for the team during training camp this season.

Picked 28th overall in 2014, Ho-Sang has had trouble converting his incredible talent into a fulltime NHL job.

Ho-Sang famously dropped in his draft year despite having high-end talent, and his inability to convert his incredible talent into a prominent NHL role has long mystified observers.

Josh Ho-Sang Before the Toronto Maple Leafs

Ho-Sang was an OHL superstar booming with talent, but it seems like he may have been a victim of the NHL’s aversion to confident players with big personalities (for example he famously declared himself the #1 overall pick…in Connor McDavid’s draft year).

At first it seemed like he was destined to be a top pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, but once word got out about his supposedly bad reputation, he was quickly dropped from many teams draft lists.   The NHL is an extremely conservative institution, and players with big personalities often face pushback from organizations who want players to be emotionless robots.

Josh Ho-Sang was eventually drafted 28th overall in the 2014 draft by the New York Islanders, but seven years later, he still hasn’t been able to stick in the NHL.  He’s been buried in the minors, he was given to an unaffiliated AHL team, and he was banished to Sweden, all while under contract with the New York Islanders.

His offensive talent was never questioned though.  He would tear it up in the AHL and put up decent numbers during his NHL call ups despite getting limited ice time.

The Toronto Maple Leafs development staff are amazing and started working with Josh Ho-Sang weeks before training camp began.  He’s been given a great opportunity starting camp on a line with another former New York Islander, John Tavares.

Tavares and Ho-Sang seem like they could generate a lot of chemistry as Ho-Sang’s playmaking ability would be a great compliment to a sniper like Tavares.  During camp, it has also freed up William Nylander to play on a line with Alex Kerfoot as that pairing showed great chemistry during the playoffs when Tavares was hurt.

Josh Ho-Sang was born and raised in Toronto as a fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs.  Playing for the Maple Leafs would be a dream come true for him.

During his first interview at training camp, he actually sounded very calm, humble, appreciative, down to earth and peaceful. It sounds like Ho-Sang developed his new mindset during his experience in Sweden. “I would like to say a big thank you to the people in Linköping.  The GM and coach there now did wonders for me as a person.” “The head coach in Sweden absolutely changed my life – changed my outlook on hockey.” “Maybe some of the things that have been said to you your entire life – sometimes we’re not ready to hear things and I believe I’m at the point now where I am.”

When asked if he’d be willing to start with the Marlies, Ho-Sang replied “I’d be willing to start in the East Coast (ECHL).” “I’m not entitled by any means.  I don’t think I deserve anything here. I’m happy to be a part of this organization in any way the need me.”

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Wow! It was an impressive interview. This does not sound like a player who deserves the reputation that has followed him around.  Josh Ho-Sang has finally found the inner peace he needs to become a fulltime NHL player with the Toronto Maple Leafs.  We’ll have to wait and see how the rest of training camp pans out.