Josh Ho-Sang 2014 NHL draft scouting report: Dazzling puck skills, but a risky pick

Dennis Pajot

Josh Ho-Sang has some of the best puck skills in the 2014 NHL Draft. He's dazzling. But there are some big question marks that could make him a risky pick for the Flyers or anybody else.

Josh Ho-Sang is the kind of player you either think should go earlier than he will be picked, or the player that you think was picked way too early. He has great puck skill, moves that make most other draft prospects drool, and plays every shift like a man on a mission. He led the Windsor Spitfires of the OHL in points last season, and is considered to be one of the more prolific offensive players available after the first tier is off the board.

But Ho-Sang isn’t without flaws. His defense is just average at best. He’s never going to be on a checking line in the pros. He’s also not the ideal size for a 1st-round forward. He'll need to put on some extra weight to compete in any league above Canadian major junior.

In addition, Ho-Sang is pretty headstrong when on the ice too. He's been suspended, he makes some reckless plays, he gets under the skin of Flyers goalie prospects (yep, that was him!), etc. In all honesty, the biggest issue here is the recklessness. Carelessness and penalties are, of course, things that can really hold you back in this league. We’ve seen many players with amazing talent come and go in the blink of an eye because of these issues.

So we have an offensive dynamo who is lacking on the back-end of his game, plays careless, and is about the same size as me.

Bio

  • Born: 1-22-1996
  • Nationality: Canada
  • Height: 5’11"
  • Weight: 165 lbs
  • Position: Forward (C, RW)
  • Team(s) – Windsor (OHL); Canada (WJC)

Stats:

Flyers Potential

There's a running theme to these mid-first round picks. The players we've discussed seem to all have very good offensive talent, but they have flaws in judgment and defense that are keeping them from the top 10. The good news is that the Flyers can get a very talented player at No. 17. The downside, of course, is that the Flyers could end up with a bust at No. 17, and players they passed on will become stars. It happens to every team in every sport, but I can already see a large group of fans voicing their pessimistic opinions no matter who the Flyers draft.

Ho-Sang is a player I can see people either loving or hating come draft night. The talent is there for success, but the size, defensive, and some judgment issues will be widely expressed before and during the first round. But the end result will come down to the evaluation process, and that is just something that we as fans don’t have full access to. If the Flyers think that the issues surround Ho-Sang will sort out, then they could have a top 10 talent fall to them. If they don’t, then I guess all we can do is trust Hextall and Co. when they walk up to the stage late Friday night.

But let's just take the first scenario in this hypothetical draft. Ho-Sang is a player that can very easily fall into a top-6 role when his time comes. Assuming the core of the forward group stays the same by the time he makes the jump to the NHL, it’s not unrealistic to think that he can come in, use his all around offensive skill and be productive from day one. And hey, he’s been productive at every stage before, so as long as the Flyers can coach his weaknesses and utilize his strengths, I believe he can become an essential forward for them in the future.

Watch for yourself

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