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Islanders: Oliver Wahlstrom getting reps on third line at practice

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) /
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“His shot is world-class.” That’s what Barry Trotz had to say about New York Islanders winger Oliver Wahlstrom. The eleventh overall pick at the 2018 draft seems to be exactly what the Islanders need, a pure goal scorer with an elite shot. But he hasn’t yet made his debut in 2021.

After a loan spell in Sweden this offseason, the thought was Wahlstrom could earn a spot on the Isles third line next to Jean-Gabriel Pageau to start the season. While he made the roster out of camp he hasn’t seen the ice yet.

Fellow prospect and 2016 first-round pick Kieffer Bellows has been playing on the third line but at practice on Saturday, Wahlstrom was seen playing with Pageau and Johnston.

Oliver Wahlstrom set for debut on New York Islanders third line

That type of move from Barry Trotz typically means it’s what he’s going to use come puck drop. It’s not a guarantee, but more often than not he’s experimenting with that lineup for a reason.

It’s not as though Kieffer Bellows has been poor in his play this year. He has ten hits, a block, a takeaway, and two shots on net while averaging 8:47 of ice-time with most of his zone starts (53.8%) have been in the defensive zone.

It’s not like Bellows was put in a situation where he could flourish offensively.

Bellows was moved to the extras line at practice. He lined up next to Leo Komarov and Michael Dal Colle.

After practice, Trotz gave a very hockey coach answer on the prospect of seeing what Wahlstrom could do in the lineup:

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It seems that if, and likely when, Oliver Wahlstrom steps onto the ice this Sunday in New Jersey he’ll be cast in the same role as Bellows played. A bottom six-defense first role with limited minutes. It would be great to see Wahlstrom hitting the ice, but perhaps this isn’t the best way to use a player with a “world-class” shot.

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