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Bridgeport Sound Tigers

Islanders’ Simon Holmstrom Invited to Sweden’s WJC Camp

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Simon Holmstrom
Photo Courtesy: Greg Vasil/Bridgeport Sound Tigers

New York Islanders prospect and Bridgeport Sound Tigers forward Simon Holmstrom was among the 35 players that Team Sweden invited to their World Junior Championship camp on Thursday. Sweden will cut the roster down to 25 players before they leave for the World Junior Championship being held in Edmonton this year.

The World Juniors begin on Friday, Dec. 25.

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If Holmstrom makes the team it would be his first time at the World Juniors. He did compete for Sweden at the 2019 IIHF World U18 Championships, where he had six points (three goals, three assists) in seven games.

Simon Holmstrom had been on loan by the Islanders to HC Vita Hasten of HockeyAllsvenskan. In 11 games with the Swedish hockey club, the 19-year-old had a goal and an assist in that span.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Simon Holmstrom had been in his first pro year in North America with the Sound Tigers. He played in 46 games, scoring eight goals and recording 15 points.

Sound Tigers head coach Brent Thompson told NYI Hockey Now in September that he saw an increased sense of confidence in Holmstrom’s game as the season progressed.

Holmstrom isn’t the only New York prospect headed to Sweden’s World Junior camp. New York Rangers’ prospect Karl Henriksson was also invited.

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Bridgeport Sound Tigers

Chris Lamoriello: ‘We’re Not Ruling Anything Out’ When it Comes to Josh Ho-Sang

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Josh Ho-Sang
Photo Courtesy: Greg Vasil/Bridgeport Sound Tigers

Could we see Josh Ho-Sang back in North America in the near future? Don’t rule it out.

Bridgeport Sound Tigers general manager and New York Islanders Islanders assistant general manager Chris Lamoriello indicated that a Ho-Sang return was on the table despite the team loaning him overseas. Ho-Sang is currently playing for Orebro HK in the Swedish Hockey League.

The Islanders announced they had loaned the talented forward to the Swedish hockey team earlier this month.

“Josh is extremely talented, very lucky early in his career to play a number of NHL games,” Lamoriello said during a Zoom call with local media. “At this point, we looked at a number of different options to put him in the best position. … We felt that with our schedule only being 24 games at the American League level, that he would get the chance to get in the lineup quicker and a greater volume of games in a shorter period of time.

“We thought this made a lot of sense. We spoke to him about it and he agreed, and this open-ended too. This isn’t something that will determine his future for this season.”

The Islanders had placed four players overseas with clubs while the NHL had worked to determine how or even if they would conduct a 2022-21 season. Ho-Sang’s situation played out differently, Lamoriello said, because those four players had citizenship in the countries that they played in.

The fact that placement for Josh Ho-Sang materialized later wasn’t out of the ordinary, Lamoriello said.

The Islanders shocked many when it was revealed that he would not be invited to training camp after he signed a 1-year, two-way contract extension this past offseason. Ho-Sang made it known to the organization that he would report to AHL Bridgeport if that’s where they wanted him.

Instead, the Islanders loaned Josh Ho-Sang to Orebro HK after he cleared waivers.

Despite the ups and downs, Lamoriello said that the communication with Ho-Sang had been “excellent.”

“That’s been ongoing, that’s been consistent,” Lamoriello said. “I feel very good about the direction in this type of transaction. Not only with us as an organization, but him as a player. I think it’s been extremely important, as you said, communication that has been had.”

And when asked to clarify about the potential for Ho-Sang to return, Lamoriello again indicated that it could be in the cards.

“We’re not ruling anything out,” Lamoriello said. “That’s why I mentioned it was open-ended. We’re just going to go game to game.”

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Bridgeport Sound Tigers

GOING CAMPING: Ladd, Kuhnhackl Headed to AHL Training Camp

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Andrew Ladd

The mystery of what the New York Islanders plan to do with Andrew Ladd and Tom Kuhnhackl appeared to be solved on Saturday.

The two NHLers will report to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers when they open training camp. The Islanders AHL affiliate released its training camp roster on Saturday morning.

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Sending Ladd’s contract to the AHL will save the Islanders around $1 million in salary cap money. Andrew Ladd is in the fifth year of a seven-year, $38.5 million deal he signed in 2016. The contract carries a 5.5 million AAV but that will come down with him in the minors.

Andrew Ladd played 34 games last season in the AHL with the Sound Tigers and two the year prior.

The veteran forward has struggled to find a place in the Islanders lineup. He has appeared in only 30 games over the last two seasons, with just four goals and 12 points.

Kuhnhackl has played 64 games since joining the Islanders in 2018. He appeared in four games last season with the Sound Tigers.

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Bridgeport Sound Tigers

Bridgeport Sound Tigers to Play Condensed 24 Game Schedule This Season

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

The Bridgeport Sound Tigers will play this season, but like their NHL counterparts, it will be in front of an empty arena.

The AHL released its 2021 schedule on Friday for what league president Scott Howson described as “a season unlike any other in our 85-year history.” The Sound Tigers will play 24 games this year and only face the Providence Bruins and Hartford Wolfpack.

The Sound Tigers are playing in the smallest of the five AHL divisions this season, with only two other teams in it.

Bridgeport will play all of its home games at Webster Bank Arena, but no fans will be allowed in the building. The team is providing season ticket holders with complimentary subscriptions to AHLTV this season, the Sound Tigers said in a press release.

“While we would be thrilled to have an arena full of cheering fans watching the Sound Tigers play, the health and safety of our fans, players and employees remain the organization’s top priority,” Bridgeport President of Business Operations Brent Rossi said in a media release. “In accordance with state and local protocols regarding public gatherings, the team will play without fans in attendance. All games will continue to be broadcast live through the AHLTV platform and the team’s online radio network.”

The Sound Tigers will open the season on the road against Providence on Feb. 5. They won’t play their first home game until Feb.13 when they host Providence at Webster Bank Arena.

“Our priorities are first and foremost health and safety,” Howson said in a statement about the upcoming season. “Our main objective is to provide a safe environment for our players to continue their development towards a career in the National Hockey League.”

The AHL had been working towards putting together some form of a season for some time now. Three of its member clubs relocated for the 2020-21 season, including Providence which will play in Marlborough, Mass.

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