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New York Islanders: Does Oliver Wahlstrom Make Josh Ho-Sang Expendable

By Matt O'Leary
New York Islanders Joshua Ho-Sang (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
New York Islanders Joshua Ho-Sang (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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The New York Islanders selected a prolific scoring right winger in the first round of the 2018 NHL Draft. Does that make Josh Ho-Sang expendable?

Oliver Wahlstrom being available for the New York Islanders at eleven overall was a huge surprise. Media members ate up the Islanders first-round selections and rightfully so. The Islanders built themselves up strongly for the future.

Adding a right-wing to the prospect pool like Oliver Wahlstrom is interesting. Let’s start with Wahlstrom before discussing anyone else. He had 48 goals last year in the USDP and is arguably the purest scorer in the draft class.

He’s what they call a finisher in the business, he loves finding the back of the net and if you watch any of his highlight videos you’ll see some real beauties along the way. He’s going to play at Boston College next year but after that, it wouldn’t surprise me if he competed for a roster spot in 2019-2020.

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With a player like Wahlstrom does Josh Ho-Sang become expendable because he’s been leapfrogged on the prospect depth chart?

Absolutely not. Let me explain why; they’re two completely different players. Ho-Sang is a playmaker, he scored ten goals combined in the NHL and AHL last year despite combining for 43 points in 72 games.

He’s a faster skater and makes plays happen while Wahlstrom is usually the finisher of those plays.

The Islanders are going to need a right-wing besides Josh Bailey, Jordan Eberle, and Cal Clutterbuck for next year. The most likely to play on the third line next year is Ho-Sang and yes he deserves that opportunity.

If anything, this actually makes Jordan Eberle expendable. Here me out for a second. After this year, the Islanders are going to have Anders Lee and Jordan Eberle to re-sign. You could re-sign both but you’re likely locking into two players on seven or more years for over $7 million a year. It’s a little bit of a risk, no matter how good both guys are now.

I advocated for the Islanders choosing Eberle over Lee previously, but with another right wing in the fold in Wahlstrom that throws a wrench into everything. Eberle and Ho-Sang are the comparable playmaking type.

In 2019-2020, the Islanders could have Wahlstrom and Ho-Sang in their top-six as the right wingers, one serving as the scorer the other serving as the playmaker. You could choose whoever you want to play on the top line, personally, I think I’d go Wahlstrom with Tavares and Lee and Ho-Sang with Barzal but that’s just me.

No one projected the Islanders to be picking up a talented right-winger in the first round, so this kind of throws a wrench into the plan. Yes, Ho-Sang could be used in a trade, but I’d rather the Islanders use his value with their team instead because after everything that happened this year his trade value is down.

Next: Report: Islanders offered Tavares $88 million deal

Wahlstrom and Ho-Sang are young, affordable players. Taking advantage of players on their ELC is how you go on championship runs. The Islanders window is just now opening, and it could be a fun few years if Lou Lamoriello acquires a goalie and fixes the defense.

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