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Future Islanders? Three Bridgeport Sound Tigers to Keep an Eye on | NYHN+

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Bridgeport Sound Tigers home hockey arena
Photo Courtesy: Greg Vasil/Bridgeport Sound Tigers

Names like Oliver Wahlstrom, Kieffer Bellows and Simon Holmstrom are ones that usually capture the imagination of New York Islanders fans when it comes to the prospect pool in AHL Bridgeport. However, there are a few other names that fans will want to keep an eye on whenever the 2020-21 AHL season begins.

The Islanders prospect pool has thinned out a bit in the past few years, but Bridgeport Sound Tigers head coach Brent Thompson believes that there are a few pieces on the upcoming roster that could develop into something special for the Islanders.

He recently spoke with NYI Hockey Now about three Sound Tigers that fit that bill.

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Bridgeport Sound Tigers

He’s Back! Josh Ho-Sang Returns to Islanders on 1-Year Deal

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Josh Ho-Sang

If you thought Josh Ho-Sang’s time with the New York Islanders was over, guess again.

The Islanders and Josh Ho-Sang came to terms on a 1-year contract extension on Tuesday and avoided an arbitration hearing which had been scheduled for Friday. The short-term deal is worth $700,000 if he plays in the NHL and $200,000 if he ends up in Bridgeport, according to Elliotte Friedman who first reported the news on Tuesday morning.

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Ho-Sang has had a rocky history with the Islanders since the organization drafted him 29th overall in 2014. The now 24-year-old forward has struggled to crack the Islanders lineup and his outspoken nature has often caused himself headaches.

Josh Ho-Sang requested a trade last season and was told by Islanders general manager not to report to AHL Bridgeport while they worked to find a place to send him. The naturally skilled forward did end up reporting to Bridgeport after the Islanders failed to move him and they eventually loaned Ho-Sang to St. Louis’ AHL team in San Antonio.

Ho-Sang has appeared in 53 NHL games with the Islanders and registered seven goals and 17 assists in that span.

Both the Islanders decision to send Ho-Sang a qualifying offer and then Ho-Sang’s decision to file for arbitration surprised many people. Lamoriello sounded perplexed several weeks ago when he was asked about it during a media conference call on Zoom.

“I’m sure you’re all aware that he filed for arbitration, which I was very surprised at,” Lamoriello said at the time. “We’ll have to see what the future brings.”

It’s unclear what role the Islanders envision for Ho-Sang going into next season.

In addition, the Islanders also announced that A.J. Greer had signed a one-year contract as well. Greer was acquired from the Colorado Avalanche in a trade that saw the Islanders send Kyle Burroughs to the Mile High City.

Greer had been a restricted free agent.

Fellow RFA defensemen Mitch Vande Sompel and Parker Wotherspoon signed two-year contract extensions on Tuesday as well.

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Bridgeport Sound Tigers

Kieffer Bellows Violated AHL/PHPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program

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Kieffer Bellows
Photo Courtesy: Greg Vasil/Bridgeport Sound Tigers

Kieffer Bellows violated the AHL/PHPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program, the AHL announced Friday afternoon.

The announcement did not say when the violation occurred or what substances were used by Bellows that triggered the violation. Bellows had already been disciplined for the issue and there are no further limitations or restrictions that would keep him from playing, the AHL press release stated.

It’s unclear if this had any role in the New York Islanders decision to keep him off their return to play roster in July.

“In response to the American Hockey League announcement regarding Kieffer Bellows, we will let their statement speak for itself and have no further comment,” Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello said in a statement.

A Bridgeport Sound Tigers spokesperson said that they did not have any additional comments.

Kieffer Bellows appeared in eight games with the Islanders this season and scored two goals and recorded an assist in that span. In 52 AHL games with Bridgeport, Bellows recorded 22 goals and nine assists for 31 points.

Bellows was part of the Islanders summer training camp in July, but was left off the final roster that went to Toronto to compete for the Stanley Cup.

The 22-year-old was drafted by the Islanders 19th overall at the 2016 NHL Draft.

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Bridgeport Sound Tigers

Sebastian Aho Inks Two-Year Contract Extension with Islanders

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Sebastian Aho

The New York Islanders have signed Sebastian Aho to a two-year contract extension.

The new deal will keep the pending restricted free agent in orange and blue through the 2022-23 season. Aho was on the final year of his three-year, entry-level contract that he signed in 2017.

The Athletic’s Arthur Staple was first to report the Aho contract. The second year of the deal is one-way, according to Staple.

Aho has not played in the NHL since a 22 game stint during the 2017-18 season. He recorded a goal and three assists during his time with the Islanders that season.

He was part of the Islanders taxi squad during the playoffs this season and has played well in AHL Bridgeport.

Sebastian Aho led all Bridgeport Sound Tigers defensemen in points with 30 points (three goals, 27 assists) in 49 games this season. It was the third consecutive season he has led Bridgeport defenders in points.

In 156 games with the Sound Tigers, Sebastian Aho has 105 points (21 goals, 84 assists) and has been named to the AHL All-Star Classic three seasons in a row.

Welcome to your new home for New York Islanders breaking news, analysis and opinion. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and don't forget to subscribe to NYHN+ for all of our members-only content from Christian Arnold and the National Hockey Now network.
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