Islanders: Final check-in with Oliver Wahlstrom’s coach in Sweden

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)

A final check-in with AIK’s head coach Hakan Ahlund on New York Islanders prospect Oliver Wahlstrom who’s loan with AIK ended this week.

Oliver Wahlstrom‘s loan to Swedish side AIK ended earlier this week. The New York Islanders recalled the 2018 first-round pick to North America in order to begin preparing for the 20-21 NHL season.

Just under two months ago I spoke with AIK’s head coach Hakan Ahlund about Wahlstrom. Just like every Islanders fan I wanted to get the coach’s perspective on how well Wahlstrom was doing in Sweden. How was his offense? How was he doing defensively?

So now that the loan is over – after ten games and eight points over a four-month period – I caught up with coach Ahlund again to conduct a sort of exit interview. How have things gone since we spoke last time? Here’s what Ahlund had to say:

Dangerous Player Around the Net

Michel Anderson: Oliver Wahlstrom’s loan with AIK comes to an end after ten games. The last time we spoke you indicated that Wahlstrom could be even more productive if he finished more ‘around the goal’. Did you see Wahlstrom develop that side of his game over the few months you had him? Is he better around the goal?

Hakan Ahlund: He knows where the goal is, and he’s aware of how to play around the net and how to do it well. In this league, he’s a top player in that area of the game!

MA: Last season, Islanders coach Barry Trotz indicated that Whalstrom needed to “learn the game”. Did you see an effort from Wahlstrom to learn the AIK system and to improve his play away from the puck?

HA: I understand that Barry thought that about Oliver’s need to learn the game. That’s the biggest nut for Wahlström to crack I think.Sure, he wasn’t here long, but he had trouble understanding the game we wanted to play during his time here too.

MA: That injury was an unfortunate setback for Wahlstrom but he returned strong putting up four points in his final four games before being recalled. He seemed very effective at even strength in his last four games with AIK, did something change on the ice for Wahlstrom?

HA: I wouldn’t say anything changed specifically. Wahlström is a dangerous player around the net and scoring is his strength, so after the injury, I would say he simply found his way back to that very fast.

MA: The last time we spoke you indicated that Wahlstrom could be better defensively. I’m sure he didn’t completely turn around his defensive games over the last two months, but can he become a solid defensive player going forward?

HA: He can become a more complete player if he improves on details in all areas of the game. If he focuses more on the defensive play he will for sure improve and become better.