Josh Ho-Sang isn’t ready to call himself a veteran, especially with only 21 games of NHL experience. But on the first day of minicamp for prospects at the Northwell Health Ice Center, Ho-Sang said he is embracing a mentorship role for the first-time participants.
“It’s nice to give to the newer guys what I received from all the older guys,” said Ho-Sang, the Islanders’ 2014 first-round pick who had 10 points with the team at the end of last season. “That exchange in your role, it’s a little bit different.”
After making headlines in training camp in 2015 for arriving late and subsequently getting sent back to junior hockey, Ho-Sang has produced at all levels and hopes to perform well enough this summer that the Islanders won’t think twice about his status as a pro.
“There’s still a lot of moves they can make, and for me, I just want to come in as strong and as fast as possible and kind of not make it a decision for them . . . just ‘Josh is ready,’ ” he said.
Coach Doug Weight said the 21-year-old Ho-Sang showed flashes of what he’s capable of last season and was pleased with the way he played.
“He had some blips and he responded well, and I think that’s a key for a young guy, and especially Josh,” Weight said. “We have to continue to work with Josh and push him in all facets, on and off the ice.”
Ho-Sang expressed excitement in the organization’s acquisition of Jordan Eberle from Edmonton last week, hoping that the veteran wing will be a source of knowledge.
“Jordan Eberle’s actually been one of my favorite players throughout my career,” Ho-Sang said. “I love what he did in Edmonton. I think that he’s a tremendous player, and I’m super excited to get a chance to talk to him and pick his brain a little.”
Barzal wants to prove he belongs
Center Mathew Barzal made the Islanders’ 23-man roster out of camp last season, playing in two games before getting sent down to the Seattle Thunderbirds. He tore through the Western Hockey League, leading the team in assists with 69 and placing second in points with 79.
He thinks he’s ready to take the next step in his progression after briefly seeing what life in the NHL is like.
“Last year, maybe I was a little bit star-struck sometimes,” he said. “This year, I want to hopefully come in and not feel that, just feel like I belong.”
Other participants in camp include 2016 first-round pick Kieffer Bellows, 2014 first-round pick Michael Dal Colle, goalie Linus Soderstrom and local players Kyle Delmaestro (Syosset), Ryan Hitchcock (Manhasset), Connor Lavin (Old Brookville), Mike Marnell (South Huntington), Steve Mundinger (Smithtown) and Ryan Rosenberg (Dix Hills).