Reports indicate that Mitch Marner may be out for another two weeks, so should the Toronto Maple Leafs call-up Josh Ho-Sang to replace him?
Josh Ho-Sang only has a contract with the Toronto Marlies right now, so if the Toronto Maple Leafs would like to call him up, they’d have to sign him to an NHL contract. After 15 games in the American Hockey League, I’d say that would be very deserving for the 25-year-old.
The team could sign him to a one-year, two-way contract to ensure that he doesn’t have to clear waivers in order to rejoin the Marlies down the road. That would be the best case scenario because who knows if he’d actually stay with the team once Marner returns.
The former first round pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft hasn’t lived up to his potential. Once viewed as the best junior hockey player in Toronto besides Connor McDavid, the offensive skill of Ho-Sang made scouts very excited, but it hasn’t worked out.
Toronto Maple Leafs Should Sign Ho-Sang to NHL Contract
The best asset that Mitch Marner possesses is also his vision. He is one of the best playmakers in hockey and is always looking for the open man.
As we saw on the weekend, it’s a little tougher for Matthews to score when Marner isn’t on his wing. He can still generate offense, but when someone like Michael Bunting and Wayne Simmonds are his wingers, he’s not going to get as many scoring chances as he would with Marner.
The Leafs could slide William Nylander up to play beside Matthews, but Nylander and John Tavares are already a great pairing that you don’t need to mess with that. Also, Nylander is more of a goal-scorer than assist-man, so it wouldn’t solve the problem of getting Matthews the puck.
As mentioned before, Ho-Sang can be unselfish with the puck and his vision could help replace what Marner brought to the table every night. Paired beside Matthews, Ho-Sang has the skillset to find Matthews the puck and help him generate offense.
At this point in his career, Ho-Sang now understands what it takes to be a professional and that he’ll do almost anything to get back to the NHL at a full-time basis. He said that he doesn’t care if he plays in the ECHL or AHL to start the year, and only cares about playing hockey and getting back to the NHL.
During 15 games, Ho-Sang has nine goals (50 goal pace) and 13 points with the Marlies and has been everything the team hoped for. He’s paid his dues at the AHL level and now deserves an opportunity to play beside one of the best goal-scorers in the NHL, to see if he can replicate his AHL success at the NHL level.
Playing beside Matthews is a tough task, but Ho-Sang knows what it’s like to play beside high-end talent, because he once was that player. Sign the kid to an NHL contract and let’s see what he can do.