After a nine-game sample in the NHL last season, will Oliver Wahlstrom get an extended look in the NHL? Or will he get the youngster treatment again?
It’s hard to get a read on who the Islanders‘ third line wingers will be in 2021. I assume, we’ll have a better idea once camp starts but that’s no fun, let me make my predictions with zero context and see how wrong I end up.
Wahlstrom is one of those confusing guys. He played in 45 games in the AHL last year putting up 22 points (10 goals, 12 assists) and he didn’t have a point in his nine-game sample in the NHL last season.
In Sweeden on loan, he was solid for AIK. In 10 games he had eight points (4 goals, 4 assists) and now he’s back on Long Island in quarantine for camp. Is this the year we see him in the NHL?
You know what, I’m going to go out on the limb and say yes. Based on what we’ve seen from Barry Trotz and Lou Lamoriello over the last two years the safe bet is Michael Dal Colle – JG Pageau – Leo Komarov as line three.
Yes, that line scares the life out of me, but I’ll say one of Wahlstrom or Kieffer Bellows gets the nod and I think it’ll be Wahlstrom. I’ll say that Wahlstrom plays in 40 of the 56 games this year and gets somewhere around 15 minutes per night.
In 40 games I think we see 20 points (11 goals, 9 assists) which would be a pace of 41 points (23 goals, 17 assists).
Wahlstrom should see time on the power play also, considering it’s an extremely inconsistent unit and his shot is something that most of the Islanders forwards don’t have.
If Noah Dobson can be in a main role on the third pair why can’t we see Oliver Wahlstrom, who was selected just one pick ahead of him, in a regular role as well? His ceiling is higher than any other option for the third line wing spot, why not let him ride with Pageau?
Sure, he’s not the most defensive-minded forward out there but who better to learn a two-way game from than JG Pageau? What’s the alternative here, sit him on the taxi-squad or send him to a depleted AHL roster instead?
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Let’s see what the kid can do, I for one am extremely high on him and think he can push for a top-six role by 2021-2022. With that said, if he played in the AHL that would be the least surprising Lou Lamoriello/Barry Trotz thing. They have a trend of trolling me it seems.