Josh Ho-Sang of the Windsor Spitfires happens to be one of the most intriguing names in this year's draft. Coming off an impressive rookie campaign, Ho-Sang almost doubled his output this year, leading the team with an impressive 32 goals and 53 assists.
Although a little small in stature at 5'11" & 170 lbs, Ho-Sang definitely makes up for his lack of size with a plethora of offensive tools. He may just be the best stick handler in the draft class, combined with elite skating and a fantastic release.
Unfortunately, Ho-Sang does not play a 200 foot game. In fact, he's considered quite lackadaisical away from the puck, facing constant criticism for a lack of back checking, and a absence of defensive prowess. He saw a decline in production once line mate Kerby Richel was traded, and was caught quite often trying to beat three or four defenders, under-utilizing his teammates and trying to do everything himself.
They absolutely detest Ho-Sang. Although they note he's got tremendous talent, they're very (emphasis on the very) skeptical of his future in the NHL.
Take a look at some of the quotes they printed in Ho-Sang's profile:
"I’ll be shocked if he goes in the first round." – NHL Scout
"If he goes in the 1st round, that team gets what they deserve." – NHL Scout
"I don’t think we are interviewing him at the combine." – NHL Scout
They weren't as critical of the Windsor forward, noting that he has matured during his second season in the OHL, and is starting to back check, as well as improve the rest of his defensive game.
They place Ho-Sang as the third best stick handler in the draft, and peg him as a good secondary scorer in the NHL if he develops properly.
Hockey Prospect: 61
McKeen's Hockey: 33
Craig Button: 39
Average Ranking: 35
You can't deny that Ho-Sang possesses an abundance of natural talent. I caught at least a dozen of his games during his rookie campaign, and you always noticed when he was on the ice. He's a dazzling prospect that has caught many fans' attention, due to his incredibly high ceiling.
However, and that is a big however, he's absolutely not the type of player that either Marc Bergevin or Trevor Timmins would want to draft. His lack of defensive awareness will scare off most general managers, and like most of the experts, I wouldn't be surprised if he slipped out of the first round.
He's the epitome of high risk / high reward, and despite the Habs picking late in the draft I don't think Ho-Sang is a worthwhile investment. He seems to fit a smart early second round pick, and seeing as the Habs don't own a second round pick this year, I doubt we'll be seeing Ho-Sang don a a Montreal Canadiens jersey on draft day.