Islanders prospects report: Oliver Wahlstrom should be back this week

Oliver Wahlstrom #26 of the New York Islanders (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Oliver Wahlstrom #26 of the New York Islanders (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

Here’s your weekly report on New York Islanders prospects from around the globe. This week; Oliver Wahlstrom should be back on the ice for AIK.

December 7 was supposed to be when training camps opened for the 2020-21 season. Around this time is likely when the four players out on loan for the New York Islanders would have expected to have been re-called to North America.

Some clubs are still sticking to that commitment. On Monday, the Montreal Canadiens recalled Jesperi Kotkaniemi from Assat. For now, we haven’t heard if the Islanders will call back their four players out on loan soon: Oliver Wahlstrom (AIK), Simon Holmstrom (Vita Hasten), Otto Koivula (HIFK), Jakub Skarek (Pelittat).

With the impasse between the league and the player’s union who knows if NHL teams will be able to open up camp in two weeks’ time. This is likely why Lou hasn’t called back any of those prospects. So for now, the Isles prospects remain in Europe.

Update: Simon Holmstrom ended his loan spell with Vita Hasten minutes after this was published. We’ll see if the other three players now on loan follow.

Finland (Liiga/Mestis)

Ruslan Iskhakov (TPS)
Season stats: 12GP, 2G, 4A, 6pts

He’s only played once this week. It’s been an up and down week for Iskhakov. He was a healthy scratch a few times, he was given top-line minutes (where he put up two helpers in a 3-2 OT loss), and was moved from center to the wing.

I’ve reached out to his coach to get his perspective on what’s going on with Iskhakov. I expect to have those answers soon.

Otto Koivula (HIFK)
Season stats: 12GP, 3G, 8A, 11pts

Otto Koivula has been absolutely dominant of late. He’s only been kept off the scoresheet twice over the last ten games, accumulating eleven points in that stretch.

Koivula has been a surprise since making the move to North America. A fourth-round pick in 2016, the 6’4″ forward could very well earn a spot with the Islanders in 2020-21.

Matias Rajaniemi (Pelicans)
Season stats: 16GP, 2A, 2pts,14:02ATOI

He picked up his second point of the season in the same game where he completed the most ice time this season with 19:09. Now that 19:09 is less than what he was averaging last season (22:11 ATOI) as a 17-year-old. But the Pelicans are taking their time with Rajaniemi who just turned 18 in September.

Henrik Tikkanen (IPK)
Season stats: 7GP, 2.27GAA, 0.904SV%

He sat on the bench for a few games before getting the start on Friday. Tikkanen didn’t lose a step after his slight injury, stopping 24 of 26 shots (0.929SV%) in a 5-2 win.

He had a bit of a wobble at the start of October with two sub-.900SV% nights, but since, he’s stopped 87 of 95 shots (0.916SV%). His 5-1-1 record on the season is a big reason IPK sits at the top of the Mestis rankings with  2.13 points per game.

Jakub Skarek (Peliitat)
Season stats: 2GP, 5.53GAA, 0.817SV%

He’s played two games since being sent out on loan by the Islanders and neither has been great. Skarek allowed four goals on 20 shots in his first game and then seven goals on 29 shots in his second outing.

To be fair, Peliitat is one of the worst teams in the Mestis with a 3-2-11 record and 0.75 points-per-game.

Sweden (SHL/Allsvenskan)

Simon Holmstrom (Vita Hasten)
Season stats: 11GP, 1G, 1A, 2pts

With his loan spell now over, Holmstrom likely head s back across the Atlantic to prepare for the 2020-21 North American season. Whenever that may be.

Oliver Wahlstrom (AIK)
Season stats: 6GP, 2G, 2A, 4pts

I spoke with an AIK spokesperson today about Wahlstrom’s return. They indicated that Wahlstrom should make his return to the ice this week. AIK plays on Wednesday and Friday. It’s been a longer recovery than we all thought, but hopefully, he can get back to the ice soon and continue to push for a spot in 2020-21.

Robin Salo (Orebro)
Season stats: 18GP, 2G, 7A, 9pts, 23:11 ATOI

While we were all impressed with the number of minutes Salo was earning for Orebro, the second-round pick from 2017 wasn’t putting up points. From October 10 to October 31, Salo didn’t put up a single point.

But since the calendar flipped to November that’s changed. In his five games this month Salo has five points while averaging 22 minutes a night. His 23:11 of average ice-time is now the second-most in the entire SHL (for skaters).

Alexander Ljungkrantz (Brynas J20)
Season stats: 14GP, 9G, 5A, 14pts

If you missed it, I recently caught up with Ljungkrantz’s GM and head coach. It was a good chat about what type of player he is and what we can expect.

The SHL U20 league is on hold until the New Year, and Brynas has called him up to the senior squad. He’s not getting much ice time, he got 2:47 vs. Vaxjo and 4:11 vs Frolunda. It’s not much, but as Michael Sundlov told me: “his time in the SHL will come.”

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Canada (QMJHL)

William Dufour (Drumondville Voltigeurs)
Season stats: 5GP, 2G, 3A, 5pts

The season is back on for the Voltigeurs. It’s been almost two months between the start of the season in October and the Québec bubble. Now that Drummondville is back, so is Dufour. The 6’3″ 18-year-old has goals in back-to-back games now.

Side note: Dufour is familiar with a few Islandesr already. He played 29 games with the 2018-19 Rouyn-Noranda Huskies with Felix Bibeau and Noah Dobson.

Russia (KHL)

Anatoly Golyshev (Avtomobilist)
Season stats: 23GP, 9G, 8A, 17pts

There isn’t much of an update from Golyshev. He’s playing well with Avtomobilist who are fourth in the KHL’s eastern division.