Headed into Oliver Wahlstrom's sophomore season, the expectation was that he'd develop into the goal-scoring winger the New York Islanders have been missing for so long. Wahlstrom had his good moments, but he mostly went through the woes of a sophomore slump.
This is a continuation of the player-level report cards that we started this offseason. You can read the other ones here:
-New York Islanders (Team Level Report Card)
New York Islanders 21-22 report card: Oliver Wahlstrom
In 73 games, Wahlstrom only tallied 24 points. That's only about a 27-point pace over a full 82 games. In fact, Kieffer Bellows skated in 28 fewer games and his 82-game point projection is about 35 points. Wahlstrom potted five power-play goals which tied him for third-most among Islander skaters and finished the 2021-22 season with 13 goals total. That's far less than what we projected him to score in our preseason primer, however, pegging him for 21 goals and 43 points.
There were questions about Wahlstrom's deployment as he regularly received the least amount of TOI in any given game this season which many believe led to confidence issues. Still, he carried a respectable 50.44 xGF% and a very good 55.88 HDGF%, so you could see his raw statistics improving as he matures in his development. For his sophomore slump, Wahlstrom receives a D for not meeting expectations.
Wahlstrom was likely better in his own end than one might have expected. His relative xGA/60 at 5on5 was just on the positive side at +0.01. That's not all that great, but it's not all that bad either. In fact, Wahlstrom ranks seventh out of 14 Islander forwards and places ahead of Mathew Barzal, Anders Lee, Brock Nelson, & Zach Parise to name a few.
That's not all that bad considering Wahlstrom's deployment. The 21-year-old sniper was deployed about five more times per 60 minutes in the defensive zone than he was in the offensive zone. For a sniper who was seemingly relied on more defensively than offensively, a C seems fair considering he held his own.
Impact vs Reliance: B
Wahlstrom was sheltered at 12:03 TOI/GP this season which left many scratching their head. That ranks him 11th out of 14 forwards that skated in 300 or more minutes. His 0.31 game score ranks 11th among forwards that skated in 30 or more games.
Basically, this means Wahlstrom's impact outweighed his reliance which again leads you to believe that Wahlstrom has room for improvement and it shouldn't surprise you to see those goal and point totals go up in the 2022-23 season. So although the raw statistics aren't there, this is what Lane Lamber and Lou Lamoriello want him to build on moving forward. Because his impact outweighs his reliance, much like how Bellows did, a B seems fair for Wahlstrom here.
Final Grade: C-
A C- is a fair grade given how disappointing Wahlstrom's raw statistics were. His saving grace comes in his impact outweighing his reliance. This was the first go at an 82-game season for Wahlstrom and one can expect him to take a step forward next season, especially if Lambert increases his deployment.