The expectation for Oliver Wahlstrom in his sophomore season was that he would blossom into the kind of goal scorer the Islanders needed alongside Barzal for the last several seasons. With five goals in his first 10 games of the season, it looked like it might go exactly that way too. However, deployment became an issue as Wahlstrom lost Trotz's confidence to be on the ice in big-game situations, causing him to be benched for extended periods of time or even serve as a healthy scratch.
Wahlstrom expressed his appreciation for Trotz's tough love and took responsibility for his less-than-stellar season. Wahlstrom knows what he has to do in order to rebound for the 2022-23 season:
" I think for me everything could be better. This summer, I’m gonna work on shooting, goal-scoring, skating, edges, my nutrition. Everything."- Oliver Wahlstrom
The former 11th overall draft pick seems to be following in the same footsteps as teammate Noah Dobson, drafted one pick after him in the 2018 NHL Draft. Dobson's second NHL stint was filled with growing pains before his breakout performance in the final year of his rookie contract. Wahlstrom could certainly replicate a breakout third-year performance under the tutelage of Lambert.
Wahlstrom's shot was NHL-ready as soon as he was drafted. He's the kind of sniper that has the prowess to score 30 goals. Expecting that after scoring 12 goals then 13 goals respectively is perhaps unfair, but if he solidifies himself in the top-6, you could expect at least 20.
Lamoriello will have to file transactions at some point. Dobson, Alexander Romanov, and Kieffer Bellows all need new contracts, so he can't literally do nothing. What we don't know is if he'll be upgrading the forward group. If not, the Islanders can be considered a playoff bubble team with the opportunity to be better than that if the previously mentioned take a significant step forward in 2022-23.