Parker Wotherspoon, drafted in the fourth round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, had a pretty short-lived appearance at the New York Islanders training camp this September. The 18 year old left shot defenseman, who produced 42 points in 72 regular season games for the WHL’s Tri-City Americans, is heading home from camp just two days into the process.
Parker Wotherspoon leaving IceWorks with his gear. Looks like he's headed back to Tri-City of the WHL.
— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) September 19, 2015
This comes just one day after the Islanders made the decision to send prospect Joshua Ho-Sang back to the OHL’s Niagara Ice Dogs for showing up late to practice; today, GM Garth Snow suggested that ‘it’s time for [Ho-Sang] to grow up — and although Staple hasn’t confirmed what the reasoning was for Wotherspoon’s return to the major juniors today, it’s clear that the Islanders aren’t playing around this year.
The Metropolitan Division club is coming off a disappointing first round loss in seven games to the Washington Capitals during the 2015 post-season, so it’s likely that they want to make sure that this year sees them off and running early on. The team’s decision to send players home during camp — not just with formal rounds of cuts — is only further proving this for onlookers.
Of course, the Wotherspoon and Ho-Sang sagas aren’t the only noteworthy parts of Islanders practice this Saturday. Staple reports that Taylor Beck, the Nashville Predators depth winger who was flipped to the Islanders via a series of trades with the Toronto Maple Leafs in the off-season, is already out on the ice working out with his new teammates — and Marek Zidlicky, who was inked to a one year deal with the club just last night, is already at the arena and working out with his new teammates. Wotherspoon and Ho-Sang may be noteworthy prospects that many wanted to see practicing, but there’s more to watch at the Islanders camp than just which young future stars are getting sent home early for showing up late or not being prepared.
When centre Ho-Sang returns to the OHL, he’ll be in his fourth (and hopefully final) year of major juniors; when Wotherspoon returns to the Americans, he’ll be in his third season.