In the third period of Game 5, New York Islanders forward Oliver Wahlstrom fell awkwardly into the boards after a collision with Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Mike Matheson. Wahlstrom didn’t return to the game.
Today, Barry Trotz indicated that Wahlstrom is still being checked out and listed the rookie forward as is essentially day-to-day.
The loss of Wahlstrom could be a big one for the Islanders. The rookie wasn’t phased by the playoffs. He played a physical game away from the puck and when the disk found his stick he wasn’t shy to get it on net
Update on New York Islanders Oliver Wahlstrom
In four games (and two-ish periods) in the series, Whalstrom had three points, eleven shots, and twelve hits. When it comes to advanced numbers the 2018 first-rounder is second in CF% and third of xGF% in the playoffs for the Isles (5on5 and score and venue adjusted from NaturalStatTrick).
On the power play, Wahlstrom’s impact is even greater. He’s a big reason why the Isles power play has any life in this postseason. Not having him out there weakens an already weak power play.
If Wahlstrom is going to miss some time Barry Trotz indicated that veteran Travis Zajac would step in to take his spot in the lineup.
Zajac won’t replace Wahlstrom’s ability on the power-play, no one on the outside looking in could really. Kieffer Bellows is perhaps the closest to being able to perform on the power play, but the 2016 1st rounder isn’t trusted by Barry Trotz to play 5on5. So that’s what he’s still on the periphery.
Zajac can come in and play a shutdown role on the third line and perhaps add a bit of offense if the opportunity presents itself. If he does suit up next to Pageau and Palmieri I officially second the call to name their line the “dead-line”.
Zajac for Wahlstrom isn’t a 1:1 swap, but as the Islanders look to close out the Penguins and book a date with the Boston Bruins having a willy vet who can play a mistake-free game getting Zajac in is a justifiable move that should work.