One of the lasting images from the New York Islanders win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday was Zdeno Chara litterally having his arm around Noah Dobson. The veteran and future Hall of Fame defenseman was seen right in the middle of a coaching moment with the young Dobson.
And look, Chara hasn't been outstanding on the ice, but it's clear he has been off the ice. Specifically when it comes to Noah Dobson. We've seen Dobson go from a healthy scratch to basically a superstar in a matter of months. Dobson deserves a ton of praise for that growth but the impact of having Chara helping him through this can't be lost.
New York Islanders: Does Oliver Wahlstrom need a mentor?
Which brings me to Oliver Wahlstrom. Is that what Wahlstrom needs right now? Does he need a veteran player to take him under his wing and guide him through the ups and downs of the NHL?
After a really strong start to the season with five goals in his opening eight games, Wahlstrom has tailed off massively. In his following 51 games, he's produced 14 points. In his last 12 games he's got one goal to his name.
Wahlstrom just hasn't been at his best for a while now. Barry Trotz has been trying to find Wahlstrom's button all year. That one strategy that will unlock the player Trotz believes is buried in there. And he hasn't yet found it.
Maybe, like Dobson, Wahlstrom needs a guy to quite literally take him under his wing.
It's possible that Zach Parise was originally brought in and why they extended him another year; to fill that mentor role for Oliver Wahlstrom. The veteran forward has been around the NHL for 17 years and has been an effective goal-scoring threat for most of that time. But if Parise was brought in to mentor Wahlstrom it's clear that it isn't necessarily working.
Maybe over enough time Parise's influence will turn things around for Wahlstrom. We can only hope that will be the case. Seeing Dobson progress and the impact Chara is having on that growth really makes us all want the same for Wahlstrom ASAP.