New York Islanders Oliver Wahlstrom’s World Junior Championship tournament is over. And it ended it the most negative way possible.
Wahlstrom was one of five players returning from the 2019 team that lost to Team Finland in the finals. He was going to play an important role for the US who were looking for a better return than silver.
While the offense was there, Wahlstrom should be disappointed with how his tournament ended, because that’s all anyone is going to remember.
In the Box
In his five games during the tournament, Wahlstrom put up a goal and four helpers. Only Trevor Zergas, Shane Pinto, and Arthur Kaliyev put up more points than the five from the Islanders 11th overall pick from the 2018 NHL Draft.
More impressive was Wahlstrom’s 21 shots on goal through five games. That’s an average of 4.2 shots per game. For a goal scorer like Wahlstrom, you like to see him getting pucks towards the net.
But while Wahlstrom did well enough on the scoresheet, he didn’t necessarily do so well when it came to discipline. He ended the tournament with 31 penalty minutes, the most of the tournament by some distance. He nearly doubles the next player, Germany’s John Peterka who has 16 penalty minutes.
Most of Wahlstrom’s penalty minutes came in the final game against Finland. With the US down 1-0 Wahlstrom and two seconds away from defeat Wahlstrom decided to introduce his elbow to the head of Ville Petman.
Wahlstrom got five for a check to the head and then 20 minutes in the form of a game misconduct.
Maybe Petman had been riding Wahlstrom all game long and he just had enough. Maybe instead of simply finishing his check like a regular person, Wahlstrom decided to take a page out of Mathew Barzal‘s playbook.
Whatever his reason for doing what he did, Wahlstrom ended his World Junior run in the most negative way possible.
Hopefully, Wahlstrom can come back to Bridgeport and put that all behind him. He doesn’t have a point in his six games before joining up with Team USA. Perhaps he uses the disappointing end of his tournament as a launching point to get back to the NHL.