Yesterday, during the first day of the on-ice training camp, we saw the New York Islanders pair up Zdeno Chara and Noah Dobson on the blueline. And everyone was, rightfully, pleased. Having Chara take Dobson under his wing is only going to be a good thing for the young defenseman.
But Dobson isn’t the only youngster on the squad that could use a mentor. Oliver Wahlstrom is only in year two of his NHL career and is still learning how to be a good pro. Who better to learn from than Zach Parise?
New York Islanders Oliver Wahlstrom can learn from Zach Parise
Zach Parise may no longer be the player he once was, but at his peak, he was one hell of a player. Specifically when it came to popping in goals. From 2006 to 2010, only five players scored more goals than Parise’s 146. At his peak, Parise was an elite goal scorer in this league.
That period includes a 45 goal and 94 point year in 2008-09.
While Dobson leans on d-pair partner Zdeno Chara to learn how to be a better pro, Oliver Wahlstrom can and should lean on Zach Parise who should be linemates with the Isles other first-round pick from 2018.
Of course, Parise and Wahlstrom aren’t the same type of player. Parise is a more well-rounded winger (balanced between goal-scoring and playmaking) while Wahlstrom leans more towards the goal-scoring side of things. But that shouldn’t change anything, Chara and Dobson aren’t exactly the same type of player either
Remember, the one thing that Wahlstrom needs to learn is how to work in a system. He’s vastly improved over where he was a few years ago when the Isles sent him to the AHL, but he still needs some work.
Wahlstrom is gifted with a hell of a shot but he still needs to learn how to get into the best position to unleash that shot. Zach Parise and his 1,060 NHL games of experience and 393 career NHL goals (111th all-time), can teach him just that.
I can understand the appeal of having Wahlstrom up with Mathew Barzal this year but Wahlstrom should start on a third line with Parise and Pageau to learn from the veteran winger before making the jump to the top-six full-time in 2022-23.