Earlier today New York Islanders head coach, Barry Trotz announced that Michael Dal Colle is close to coming off the injured reserve and had him practice on the third line with Kieffer Bellows and Jean-Gabriel Pageau.
I’ll be honest, this decision was a total headscratcher for me. Why would the Islanders insert Dal Colle right back into the lineup instead of giving a chance to Oliver Wahlstrom?
I would love to have the answer to this question and hope Dal Colle’s performances this season prove me wrong, but there is a great case for the Islanders to give a young prospect like Wahlstrom a chance on the third line rather than Dal Colle.
New York Islanders need to try Oliver Wahlstrom
The New York Islanders have constantly turned to Dal Colle and he has yet to have a major impact. It is time for the Isles to turn to Oliver Wahlstrom.
It is no doubt that Dal Colle can be considered a bust. He was drafted fifth overall in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft and compared to everyone else that was drafted in the top-twenty overall that year, he has not had the impact the rest of those players had.
Out of the top-twenty of the 2014 draft class, Dal Colle is last in games played, and assists. Second to last in points and third to last in goals. It is clear that Dal Colle has not performed to his potential as a top-five overall draft pick.
But when push comes to shove the Islanders turn to Dal Colle to fill-in their lineup holes rather than giving a shot to one of their top prospects.
Oliver Wahlstrom should get a shot over Dal Colle. Even though the twenty-year-old did not pick up any points in his nine games with the Islanders in 2019-2020, he performed well. Wahlstrom showed tenacity on the puck and on occasion had great scoring opportunities, but unfortunately could not find the back of the net.
Before this season the Islanders loaned Wahlstrom to AIK in Sweden to get some quality game time before the new campaign began and Wahlstrom showed his scoring touch.
In ten games, Wahlstrom had four goals and four assists and showed how dangerous he was around the opponent’s net.
I understand that Wahlstrom still has a way to go in terms of his development, but I believe it’s time the Islanders coaching staff gave him a shot to show his worth rather than going with the same-old with Dal Colle.
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Isles Country: Would you rather see Wahlstrom, Dal Colle, or Johnston on the Islanders’ third line alongside Pageau and Bellows? Leave your comments below!
*All Stats Provided by Elite Prospects*