It seems like every night, Oliver Wahlstrom is on the verge of breaking out. He has just one goal and three points in the 11 games he’s played but that doesn’t tell the entire story. The Islanders rookie has been getting a ton of chances.
Looking at his shots per 60, he leads the team with 11.8, the next closest is Anders Lee at 10.39 followed by Jordan Eberle. This is the shoot-first mentality that the Islanders have been lacking for so long, he just hasn’t started converting yet.
Since becoming a regular, he’s been much more effective for the team. In his first three games, he had just two shots but in the eight games since he has 22 shots or 2.75 per game. Pace that out over a full 82 game season and that’s a pace of 226 shots.
226 shots while averaging just 11:14 of ice time is damn impressive, no matter how you slice it. Right now he’s shooting at just a 4.2% efficiency, which is super low. Don’t expect that to continue for too long.
Let’s go on the conservative side and put him at 12% shooting on 226 shots. That would be 27 goals. Bump it up to 14% and that’s a 32 goal scorer in a season.
So yes, there is a reason to be excited about this kid and the chances that he’s getting. The conversion hasn’t been there yet, but if you can’t look deeper and see the potential I’m not sure what to tell you.
That’s why I’m not opposed to giving him a chance on line two and bumping one of Anthony Beauvillier or Josh Bailey to the third line. A lineup like this could give Wahlstrom some more chances and some more ice time:
Lee – Barzal – Eberle
Bailey – Nelson – Wahlstrom
Beauvillier – Pageau – Czarnik
Martin – Cizikas – Clutterbuck
Sure, seeing Wahlstrom with Barzal would be a dream, but there’s no way we see Barry Trotz do that so I tried to be more realistic. Wahlstrom’s earned more playing time, and I’d love to see him with more offensive weapons.
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The potential is sky high with this kid and it’s pretty evident by just watching him with the puck on his stick every night. The goals will come, and when they do watch out. The Isles have something here with Wahlstrom.