How much of a 'good look' can the NY Islanders afford to give Oliver Wahlstrom?

New York Islanders v Toronto Maple Leafs
New York Islanders v Toronto Maple Leafs / Chris Tanouye/GettyImages

We don't know how active New York Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello will be at this year's trade deadline. Last year, we thought the Isles would-be sellers, and they traded for Bo Horvat in late January and later added Pierre Engvall at the deadline in March.

This year, they made depth acquisitions on defense due to injuries on the backend, meaning if they are to make a move, it will be for a forward, and if that happens, expect Oliver Wahlstrom to be the odd man out if it doesn't happen sooner with internal options.

After forward Julien Gauthier cleared waivers and was sent down to Bridgeport, Lamoriello said that Wahlstrom, a 2018 first-round pick (11th overall), was going to get a "good look” from the coaching staff. The fresh start of sorts was the latest in a series of opportunities for Wahlstrom to assert himself at the NHL level and prove that he could be a top-nine player who can contribute on the PP.

After Wahlstrom took a costly penalty against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Feb 5., Patrick Roy put him right back out there for his next shift. In all likelihood, previous coaches Barry Trotz and Lane Lambert would've benched Wahlstrom in that spot, but Roy believes that does make a player tighter and less likely to move on from the mistake.

Oliver Wahlstrom, Owen Tippett
Philadelphia Flyers v New York Islanders / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

However, according to Stefen Rosner in The Hockey News, Wahlstrom only had one shift in the final 12:43 of the game, and that was with only 22 seconds left to play. Essentially, just because Roy doesn’t believe in benching a player because of a mistake doesn’t mean he won’t sit them if they’re not producing.

"I was looking for a goal. [Wahlstrom] didn't have his best game," Roy said. And then the last, what four or five minutes, I tried to double shift Barzal with Pageau and Holmstrom and then after that, Casey [Cizikas] on the wing with them.”

If Wahlstrom is on the bench when you need scoring, and it's understood he's not a strong defensive forward; you really wonder whether the team can afford to give him the aforementioned good luck, given the stakes with only 30 games left to play. If the Isles are still in playoff contention next month and Lamoriello goes out and gets a forward, it'll likely come at Wahlstrom's expense.