I answer some of your questions about New York Islanders prospects.
Writing something has been difficult recently. The last few days I’ve been sitting in front of my computer with nothing to go on. I guess that’s what happens when the New York Islanders have played exactly 22 games over eight months.
Due to the pandemic, we’ve had two large breaks in the NHL schedule. That’s tough for content creators like me. So I asked for your help. I’ve been following Islanders prospects for some time now so I figured I could answer some of your questions about players in the system.
Here are some of the questions I received over Twitter.
Q and A
I’ve liked every question back to the original tweet. I’m sorry if you wanted to see the original tweet here. Embedding each tweet would be a visual nightmare. I hope this format helps.
Question 1: How’s our giant goalie Henrik Tikkanen doing? Any relation to the great Esa Tikkanen?
Tikkanen is injured right now. The team told me he’d only be out a week so he should be back on the ice this week, either for the team’s home game against Hermes or their road game on Friday against Hokki.
Before the injury, the 6’8″ goalie was playing well. He faced 69 shots in his last three games and stopped 63 shots for a 0.913 SV% and 2.00GAA.
From what I’ve seen he’s a calm presence in the net and uses that incredible size well by being rarely out of position.
As far as I’m aware he is unrelated to the former NHLer.
Question 2: Is Wahlstrom back on the ice [for] AIK? If so how does he look?
Oliver Wahlstrom hasn’t yet returned for Allsvenskan side AIK. The team told me will be back in two weeks. That was eleven days ago. AIK has a break in their schedule and they don’t return to action until November 22. Giving Wahlstrom plenty of time to get right.
How’s he doing? Well. His coach likes his offensive play and thinks he can be even better. His coach also re-iterated that Wahlstrom’s defensive game could be better, but I think we have to worry less about that. His defensive game is likely to be an issue over his entire career. If he can produce like we think he can, will his defense really be so much of an issue?
Question 3: Do you think Golychev will be playing with the Islanders in 2021 or 2022? If so where does he fit?
This is interesting. Last we heard from Golyshev himself, he was house shopping for an eventual move to Long Island in 2021. Since then, we’ve heard The Athletic’s Arthur Staple say the opposite (subscription required).
For the sake of the question, let’s say he makes the trip across the Atlantic to join the Isles in 2021-22. Where does he fit? He’s probably a bottom-six winger at the NHL level. But guys like Leo Komarov and Ross Johnston will still have a year left on their deal. Dal Colle might be on the final year of a league-minimum deal he’ll be an RFA at a controllable cost, the Isles might keep him around.
All that to say that Golyshev’s path seems crowded. It’s risky coming over the NA from Russia at his age to make an impact. Jan Kovar tried it a few years ago and he’s out in the Swiss league now. Golyshev has a good thing going in Yekaterinburg, does he give that up for what could be a low chance at the NHL?
Let me say it this way; if the over/under on him coming was set at 45.5%, I’d take the under.
Question 4: What prospects are likely trade-bait to shed salary?
The Islanders have some big contracts to move so if they don’t want to give off considerable draft assets (like a first-round pick) they have to move a valuable prospect. Here are the guys I think could be in play in no particular order: Sebastian Aho, Kieffer Bellows, Josh Ho-Sang, Arnaud Durandeau.
Question 5: Will Josh Ho-Sang ever see the ice for NYI again?
The Islanders clearly have a need on the right side of the ice. I believe Ho-Sang will be given a chance to win that spot at training camp. If he has a stellar camp the spot might just be his. But the competition for that spot will be tough. The Isles have a number of guys that could earn that spot. I don’t like his chances to win that spot. I think he starts the year in the AHL and maybe gets a look if an injury occurs. Maybe.
Question 6: Which is likely to contribute to the club first and how realistic is it to count on Bellows or Wahlstrom to add scoring?
I put two questions together here. The answer to the first will lead to the next.
Wahlstrom or Bellows are likey to be the first names to contribute to the team. Either could make the squad this year. Speak to a number of Isles fans and they have both playing on the third line in 20-21.
If I have to pick one, it’s Oliver Wahlstrom. The fact that he’s (technically) playing right now serves him well. He’s doing well with AIK (when he was healthy). That helps his case even more.
Can they add scoring? Yes. If they’re put in the right position to do so. Wahlstrom has a great shot and uses it from everywhere. His ability to find space is also top-notch. He’s got more to learn, but he’s only 20. Thinking he was a finished product is naive. He should be able to perform at the NHL level, if he’s put in the right situation. He should not be brought into the team and given a Nino Niederreiter treatment. He may never be a great defensive player, but he could be a really good offensive player. Hopefully, the Isles will play to his strengths.