Did Islanders Coach Barry Trotz Really Take a Shot at Oliver Wahlstrom?

Washington Capitals v New York Islanders
Washington Capitals v New York Islanders / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

Islanders fans love Oliver Wahlstrom, and for good reason. He was drafted in the first round back in 2018 by the New York Islanders with the hopes of becoming a goal-scoring winger. So far, through 87 career games at the NHL level, he has done that.

In limited playing time, he has 21 goals and 17 assists and his production is starting to increase more despite playing third line minutes more often than not. Many will point out that Barry Trotz seems to be harder on Oliver Wahlstrom than other players and they do have a fair point there in some instances.

For example, Trotz scratched Wahlstrom after a bad turnover against the Arizona Coyotes. That same standard isn't always there for the veteran players which is frustrating. After the Islanders 4-3 loss to the Wild last night, some thought that Barry Trotz discredited Oliver Wahlstrom's goal.

That sound bite doesn't sound great but like most 16-second clips out of a full eight-minute postgame press conference, it doesn't tell the entire story. If you want to go back and watch the full length postgame, you can do that here.

To summarize what happened, Andrew Gross asked Barry Trotz about having Oliver Wahlstrom out on the ice when they pulled the goalie for an extra skater. Gross asked the question because Wahlstrom did not get that opportunity after scoring that goal earlier in the period.

Trotz's reasoning was that he felt as if other players were generating more scoring opportunities.

"we just felt that there were some other guys maybe going a little bit better."

I didn't take Barry Trotz's quote as discrediting Oliver Wahlstrom, I took it more along the lines of Barry explaining that while yes, Wahlstrom's stick was the last one on a loose puck that the scoring chance was generated from the Noah Dobson shot and the Anders Lee battle in front of the net.

Also, let's not pretend like the group that Barry sent out there didn't generate chances. It was Mathew Barzal, Noah Dobson, Anders Lee, Brock Nelson, Josh Bailey, and JG Pageau. With Pageau's faceoff ability he has to be out there the only one you can maybe make the case for is swapping Bailey and Wahlstrom but as Barry said in the postgame they felt this group had something going and wanted to ride it.

In all situations, the Islanders played to a 4.58 expected goals for according to Natural Stat Trick. I don't think Barry pushed the wrong buttons last night with the offense. I think poor goalie play is what did them here.