Joshua Ho-Sang got plenty of attention during his first Islanders prospect camp, mostly to do with all the overheated opinions coming from his native Canada regarding the young forward's personality, which some NHL teams considered too headstrong to make him a draft pick.
He's now at his second Isles camp and seemingly back to just being one of the team's top prospects. Ho-Sang, the 28th pick in the 2014 draft, along with fifth overall pick Michael Dal Colle are inching closer to being pros after strong seasons in the Ontario League.
"I was here for almost a month [at the Isles' training camp], then I got traded to Niagara and when I was there it was just about my team. That really helped me," Ho-Sang said Tuesday after the first day of prospect camp at Twin Rinks in East Meadow. "There's stuff that's been written in the media, stuff that's going to be written in the media, I know that. But for me, it's about continuing to get better every day."
Ho-Sang posted 14 goals and 48 assists in 49 games for Niagara and another 16 points in the playoffs, where Niagara was bounced in the second round by Oshawa -- Dal Colle's squad. Oshawa went on to win the Memorial Cup, Canadian junior hockey's top prize, and Dal Colle was a big part of that title run.
"One of the best moments of my life," Dal Colle said of the overtime winner teammate Anthony Cirelli scored to defeat Kelowna for the Cup.
Both Ho-Sang and Dal Colle are still 19, a year too young to play in the AHL. The Islanders have a crowded roster of forwards ready for camp in September. So Ho-Sang and Dal Colle may simply have to put the work in this week and again in September knowing full well they will head back to Niagara and Oshawa.
"You just continue to give them good information and watch them mature," said Eric Cairns, the Isles director of player development. "I've been impressed with both of them. [Ho-Sang] started to put together a much better all-around game at Niagara and Michael, that experience of winning a Memorial Cup is obviously something you can't teach. Especially with him being a leader on that team."
Both Ho-Sang and Dal Colle are happy the whirlwind of last summer is behind them, as well.
"All we have is the 24 hours ahead of us," Ho-Sang said. "Last year was kind of overwhelming, thinking about everything. I learned you can't worry too much about what's going to happen. I had a great day of practice and that's how I'm going to take it."
Notes & quotes: The Blue-White scrimmage will be at Barclays Center on Wednesday at 7 p.m. Fans in attendance can purchase individual-game tickets for Islanders regular-season games at the box office during the event.
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