It has not been a secret that Islanders fans have wanted to see Josh Ho-Sang and Mathew Barzal up with the team for a long time now. They knew that they would not be kept waiting much longer when they saw the quick and well-developed play of the two in the pre-season.
Barzal dazzled in pre-season action, tallying three goals and four assists in five games. Not surprising many, the young stud led the Isles with seven pre-season points. Josh Ho-Sang was also very good during the pre-season, just not quite as good as Barzal. When it came down to opening night lineups, surprisingly, Ho-Sang was out while Barzal was in. The Isles were unexpectedly shut out 5-0 in a loss to the star studded Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena in Columbus.
The following night, the Isles looked to bounce back in their home opener against the Buffalo Sabres. Mat Barzal and Josh Ho-Sang were both in the starting lineup. Both played a very good game, as Sanger managed to tally an assist to give him his first point of the season. Although Josh had his first assist, he made some rookie mistakes. He was trying to be too fancy, stick-handling too much, trying to make too many passes, and making unnecessary dangles. Luckily, that was only game two out of 82 so he will have much more time to learn from his mistakes and gain a better hockey IQ.
To the surprise of many, Joshua Ho-Sang was just sent down today to the Sound Tigers. The Islanders did not like his style of play and will look to develop him with the hope that he will return to the team in the future. With this demotion, it is clear that Barzal has beaten out Ho-Sang as the Islanders’ best young stud.