NY Islanders News

2022-23 player preview: Oliver Wahlstrom

New York Islanders v Chicago Blackhawks
New York Islanders v Chicago Blackhawks / Patrick McDermott/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit

Like most of the 2021-22 season for the NY Islanders, it was a disappointing season for Oliver Wahlstrom. After showing promise in his rookie season that he could be the next big scorer the Islanders have longed for, Wahlstrom came up short last season of developing further into that desired player. Still, just 22 years old, the Portland, Maine native still has the potential to be an impact scorer at the NHL level, a feat he'll try to accomplish in the upcoming season.

Things started well for Wahlstrom last season, real well. He scored five goals in his first 10 games of the season and looked to be a power play threat, something the Islanders haven't possessed in a long time. After his strong start, things fell off the rest of the season. Deployment was largely an issue with Wahlstrom coming at the forefront of criticism by former head coach Barry Trotz who maintained a "tough love" approach with the second year pro. Often times Wahlstrom found himself benched or in the press box after making mistakes on the ice.

However, Lane Lambert is now at the helm and the belief is he'll be more inclined to work through the growing pains with his youth in order to better develop them. In fact, there's plenty of bounce-back, breakout appeal for Wahlstrom according to the fantasy hockey experts at NHL.com and ESPN:

Wahlstrom started the season on J.G. Pageau's wing and eventually shifted to Mathew Barzal's in an attempt to build chemistry between the Isles No.1 center and the shoot-first forward. Heading into training camp, Wahlstrom will battle for the chance to continue skating in that role next to Barzal hoping he can prove he's responsible enough for first line duties.

When Wahlstrom was drafted 11th overall in the 2018 NHL draft, his shot was already NHL caliber. Now, he possesses an above average NHL shot and has already begun to establish himself as a power play threat. Wahlstrom, when utilized, has made a home for himself on the power play in "Ovi's office," and it shouldn't come as a surprise to see Lambert experiment with that again this season.

As a bounce back threat with power play appeal, Wahlstrom could be the biggest beneficiary of the coaching switch to Lambert. His shot has 30-goal potential written all over it, and it shouldn't surprise anyone if he were to score at least 20. Entering his third pro season, Wahlstrom could follow in his teammate Noah Dobson's footsteps and be primed for a breakout season in his third year.

Read more season previews: Sebastian Aho Josh Bailey | Mathew Barzal | Anthony Beauvillier | Kieffer Bellows | Casey Cizikas | Cal Clutterbuck | Noah Dobson | Ross JohnstonAnders Lee | Matt Martin | Scott Mayfield | Brock Nelson | J.G. Pageau | Kyle Palmieri | Zach Parise | Ryan Pulock | Alexander Romanov | Robin Salo | Ilya Sorokin | Semyon Varlamov

facebooktwitterreddit