Islanders: Oliver Wahlstrom Feeling NHL Growing Pains
By Matt O'Leary
In his first full year in the league, Oliver Wahlstrom has found success at the highest level for the New York Islanders. After starting slow with just two points in his first 10 games, he found his groove.
Over his next 17 games, he’d score eight goals and put up 14 points along the way averaging just a hair over 12 minutes per night. Since then, he’s been very quiet.
In the last eight games that Wahlstrom has played, he has no points. His ice time was coming in at 13:09 and he’s averaging 2.25 shots per game over that window but for whatever reason, he is just struggling to generate anything.
To be fair, the Islanders haven’t exactly been world-beaters offensively lately. Four times in the team’s last seven games they’ve scored one goal or less, which isn’t going to be enough to get it done.
Wahlstrom’s been attached at the hip to JG Pageau, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Pageau’s numbers haven’t been great lately. He has just one point in his last 10 games and it was a goal against the Rangers on April 11.
Is this a reason to panic about Oliver Wahlstrom? No, it isn’t. You can chalk it up to the growing pains of the NHL. Keep in mind, he’s just 20 years old and only has 44 career NHL games under his belt.
In a perfect world, he’s the goal scorer he flashed being in that 17 game stretch for the rest of his career but as we’ve learned well with many other young Islander prospects, consistency isn’t an easy thing.
To Wahlstrom’s credit, he’s probably had the most success compared to the youngins who have come up during the Barry Trotz era, but still, it’s going to take a little bit before he’s that 30 goal scoring threat for an extended period of time.
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One can assume that’s one of the main reasons why Trotz has kept him down on the third line with JG Pageau instead of putting him up with Barzal. He’ll get that chance eventually, it’s just a little bit of a process so don’t panic.