New York Islanders fans were talking about two things after Saturday's game. First was the fact that the team won for the first time at their new home. And then it was how little ice time Oliver Wahlstrom received in the win.
How much ice time are we talking about exactly? Wahlstrom received 9:49 of total ice time in Saturday's win. With 1:41 of power-play time, Wahlstrom played 8:08 at even-strength. Only Ross Johnston has less total ice time in the win with 9:38 of total time.
Which is, as you can imagine, wild considering his production.
New York Islanders one of most effective in NHL
Since the calendar turned from November to December Wahlstrom has been at the top of his game with three goals and eight points in six games. While averaging just under 12 minutes of total ice time (11:58).
That production combined with his limited ice time makes Wahlstrom one of the most effective forwards in the NHL since December. And by effective, I mean he's putting up more points in a per 60 basis than just about any other forward in the NHL.
Of course, Wahlstrom isn't a perfect player, but he seems to be doing exactly what the goal starved New York Islanders need right now. So using him less than 12 minutes a night on average and less than ten minutes in the latest game is something strange.
Why is he playing so little if he's one of the top forwards in the game at the moment? Who knows? Honestly, no one knows. Not even Barry Trotz. After Saturday's win, the coach remarked that he thought he played him more. That's wild.
A player's ice time should directly reflect the confidence the coach has in that player. It's something that Barry Trotz said himself not too long ago. Players will get more shifts if they play well. And Wahlstrom has been doing that. Except he's not getting the ice time.
I can only hope it's coming because Wahlstrom is doing exactly what the team needs him to. He's putting up points even with some considerably condensed ice-time.