New York Islanders prospect Oliver Wahlstrom is the latest player in the system to head out on loan before the 2020-21 season.
Earlier this week the New York Islanders sent 2019 first-round pick Simon Holmstrom on loan to HockeyAllsvenskan side Vita Hasten. Now 2018 first-round pick Oliver Wahlstrom joins his fellow Bridgeport Sound Tigers teammate to be loaned out to a Swedish side.
On Monday the Islanders announced that Wahlstrom will be joining HockeyAllsvenskan side AIK for the 2020-21 season.
Don’t worry, Wahlstrom can, and will be returned to the Islanders when the 2020-21 North American hockey season starts.
Getting Reps In
The news was initially broken on AIK’s own site when they stated they had secured loans for both Arizona Coyotes Victor Soderstrom and Wahlstrom.
AIK’s sports director Anders Gozzi was quite clear as to why they had targeted Wahlstrom:
"Oliver is a forward who lives a lot on his fine shot and we hope of course that we get to partake of his nose for goals and great talent during his time here at AIK."
Last season, AIK finished last in Sweden’s second division with a 10-1-9-32 record scoring a league-low 97 goals. They could clearly use someone with Walhstrom’s offensive abilities to put in some goals before he has to depart for North America.
For Wahlstrom, the advantage is pretty easy to decipher. He hasn’t laced up his skates for a competitive hockey game since March 11. If he waited until December 4 when the AHL season is tentatively scheduled to begin he’d have gone nine months without competitive hockey.
Wahlstrom was finally hitting his stride in the AHL before the season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In his final 12 games, Wahlstrom put up eight points (five goals and three assists), including a four-game point streak to end the year.
For a player who’s still developing and hoping to crack the Islanders NHL squad for 2020-21, waiting out nine months for competitive hockey is a terrible idea. Getting games in before the start of the 2020-21 season is imperative. With this loan, he’ll get the chance to be at his best before having to show he’s worthy of a spot on the Isles NHL roster.