Islanders first-rounder Josh Ho-Sang dealt to Niagara IceDogs, as Windsor Spitfires look to future

Ho-Sang has 19 points in 11 games since returning from the Islanders (Terry Wilson, OHL Images)
Ho-Sang has 19 points in 11 games since returning from the Islanders (Terry Wilson, OHL Images)

As hard as it is would have been to fathom two years ago, Josh Ho-Sang's time with the Windsor Spitfires ended without a single post-season win.

As rumoured, the 18-year-old New York Islanders first-rounder was moved Friday by the Spitfires, going to the Niagara IceDogs for 17-year-old power winger Hayden McCool and second-round priority selection choices in 2016, '18 and '19. While Ho-Sang's draft status and image as someone who marches somewhat to his own beat obvious makes it newsworthy, it's also a statement on how both Windsor and Niagara's best-laid plans have not come to fruition as quickly as anticipated. The Spitfires are 18th overall in the OHL despite a homestand-heavy first quarter, just ahead of the 19th-running IceDogs, who have an injury-filled, stumbling start.

Ho-Sang is going to a team that stands a chance of being in contention in 2015-16. Of course, being in position to do so will mean first righting the ship over the final three-quarters of this season.

Windsor, with former No. 6 overall pick McCool joining fellow 17-year-old Luke Kirwan, now has two promising 1997-born players to effectively cancel out not having a first-rounder in 2013 due to OHL sanctions for recruiting violations. It is a sure signal that the Spitfires are thinking ahead to when those two first-round talents and the two firsts they've procured from the 1998-birth cohort, wing Logan Brown and defenceman Logan Stanley, will presumably be ready to lead.

On the IceDogs' end, Ho-Sang brings a dose of skill and speed to a team that, going by the numbers, is having trouble adjusting to being on a regulation-sied home rink after years of thriving inside the cozy confines of the old Jack Gatecliff Arena. Niagara came into Friday's play averaging only 2.72 goals in 18 games. Injuries to frontline players such as Brendan Perlini, an 18-year-old Arizona Coyotes first-round pick who broke a hand at his first NHL camp, have also contributed to the disastrous start.

Ho-Sang will be with the same team where current Islanders forward Ryan Strome thrived for three-plus seasons. .

To sum up, the move aligns with a tendency that both Windsor GM and vice-president Warren Rychel, for instance, traded veterans before the start of the season in 2010-11 when the Spitfires were coming off consecutive Memorial Cup wins but still had a reasoonably talented group of holdovers that included superstar Ryan Ellis. It's also not the first time the IceDogs' Marty Wiliamson have moved quickly to add a top 18-year-old instead perhaps paying a premium a season later when the player is 19. For instance, in 2011-12 he swapped with Sarnia to get Dallas Stars power-winger prospect Brett Ritchie.

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.

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