The New York Islanders have tendered qualifying offers to several players ahead of the upcoming free agent period. Mathew Barzal, Kyle Burroughs, Joshua Ho-Sang, Grant Hutton, Ryan Pulock, Devon Toews, Mitch Vande Sompel, and Parker Wotherspoon have all received qualifying offers. After re-signing Sebastian Aho to a two-year deal, that leaves just Linus Soderstrom unqualified. Soderstrom will become an unrestricted free agent on Friday.
While Soderstrom’s exclusion may raise some eyebrows, the most surprising decision here may be to qualify Ho-Sang. The Islanders and their enigmatic prospect have never really seen eye-to-eye and it appeared as though the two sides were going to finally have a chance to part ways. Instead, Arthur Staple of The Athletic reported last week that New York actually would be qualifying the 24-year-old, keeping him in the organization that drafted him six years ago.
It’s not just that Ho-Sang hasn’t made an impact at the NHL level, it’s that he has constantly clashed with the Islanders coaching staff and management teams on his career path. The first-round pick has believed he deserved more time in the NHL to show what he could do and this year even officially requested a trade and was told not to report to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Ho-Sang ended up playing six games for the San Antonio Rampage, the AHL affiliate of the St. Louis Blues before the season was canceled.
Obviously, it is difficult to see a path forward between the two sides, but that doesn’t mean Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello is going to throw away an asset (regardless of value).