The New York Islanders appear to have decided what to do with their most recent first-round pick. Simon Holmstrom has been assigned to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the AHL, an impressive assignment for the 18-year old forward. There was debate over whether Holmstrom should start in the AHL right away or return to Sweden, but it appears as though he’ll be staying stateside for the time being.
Selected 23rd overall in June, the young winger never did see much of the highest level of hockey in Sweden like some other top prospects, but still comes with a huge ceiling. Not only does Holmstrom possess high-end offensive ability, but his overall game has been complimented for years as he competes hard at both ends of the rink. Though he played mostly right wing in Sweden, his left-handedness may put him on the other side of the ice in North America. That’s something the Islanders organization will have to decide, while getting him acclimated to the smaller rink and AHL physicality.
There’s still lots of development to go with Holmstrom, but he’ll join a Bridgeport team that is suddenly flush with top prospects. Oliver Wahlstrom, Kieffer Bellows and Otto Koivula lead the young group of forwards up front, which is also set to get Joshua Ho-Sang back after he cleared waivers and was assigned to the AHL. The Islanders have found a lot of success in the NHL of late, but should be excited about the wave of talent coming through. Hopefully Holmstrom can take another step forward and show that he can compete at the AHL level this season.