Islanders: Three players that could make NHL in 2020-21
Season stats: 45GP, 10G, 12A, 22Pts
This was going to be Oliver Wahlstrom‘s first full season of professional hockey. He started the season on fire in the AHL, recording a point in each of his first three games with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
Not before long, Wahlstrom was called up to the NHL by the Islanders with Jordan Eberle being sidelined with an injury. In nine games with the Isles through the month of October and the start of November, Wahlstrom didn’t register a point.
Sadly, he wasn’t able to make his NHL call up last longer than nine games. But Wahlstrom still left us with a feeling that he’d be back and that he’d be the player we all thought we were getting when Lou drafted him eleventh overall in 2018.
Back in the AHL, Wahlstrom kept developing his game. While the points weren’t coming as they were for Kieffer Bellows, Wahlstrom had other things to work on according to Barry Trotz.
"“He’s a young player who’s got loads of skill and he’s gotten this far on loads of skill. Now he’s got to learn the game,” said Trotz. “At every level he’s been a talent, he’s been the biggest, strongest sort of the most talented guy. Well, no one has really taught him the game for the most part.”"
By the end of the season, Wahlstrom was scoring more consistently for the Sound Tigers. Over his final ten games of the 2019-20 regular season, Wahlstrom put up seven points including a four-game point streak to end the season.
Why he’ll make the cut in 2020-21?
Just like Bellows, Wahlstrom could give the Islanders the depth scoring they need. He can start out on the third line as he ‘learns the game’ and as he transitions to a top-six player.
If I had to pick between Bellows and Wahlstrom my belief is that Wahlstrom stays in the AHL for one more year and Bellows makes the transition up. But that could very well change depending on how each performs at training camp when the 2020-21 season starts up.