Oliver Wahlstrom was an interesting case study in 2021 for the New York Islanders. He scored a goal in his first game of the year but then went ice cold for the next 10 games. Well, once he got settled into the NHL he ended up being rather solid in a limited role.
The 20-year-old had 12 goals and 21 points in 44 games played. If you took his numbers and put them over a full 82 game season he was on pace for 39 points (22 goals, 17 assists). The most interesting part, he was only getting 12:23 per night.
Islanders fans were pleading for him to get some time on the top line with Mathew Barzal, especially after Anders Lee went down but Barry Trotz kept him in a sheltered role throughout the season.
In the playoffs, he scored a goal and had two assists before getting hurt in Game 5. He did not return to the lineup for the remainder of the Islanders playoff run.
Trying to pinpoint what Wahlstrom’s role will be in 2021-2022 is very difficult. You can make a strong case for him to play with Mat Barzal and Anders Lee but in the same breath, you could also argue that he should stay on the third line.
Based on what the Isles have shown us over the past couple of seasons, going on the conservative side with expectations might be the wise decision.
Oliver Wahlstrom 2021-2022 Expectations
To start the 2021 season, Oliver Wahlstrom will likely start out with Zach Parise and JG Pageau on the third line. That’s not to say that he won’t get into the top-six at some points, but he will more than likely find a home on line three.
Expect his ice time to go up to somewhere between 14:30 and 15:00 minutes on average for the season, with some power play time. Wahlstrom has an excellent shot and should continue to see time on the man advantage.
My expectation for Wahlstrom is a full 82 game season (no healthy scratches) and a 43 point season (21 goals, 22 assists). Of those 21 goals, eight of them will be on the power play.
While the calls for Wahlstrom to join Mat Barzal will continue, the Islanders have one of the best third lines in the game with Parise – Pageau – Wahlstrom. Depth, I kind of like the sound of that.