Islanders top five goals from 2021-22

New York Islanders v Washington Capitals
New York Islanders v Washington Capitals / Rob Carr/GettyImages
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Oliver Wahlstrom, Carter Hart
Philadelphia Flyers v New York Islanders / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

Oliver Wahlstrom shootout vs PHI Jan 18

I didn't pick this goal out because it was particularly nice. There isn't anything really "nice" about it. It's a simple wrist shot that beats a keeper in a one-on-one situation. It's a pretty simple goal, specifically for a sniper like Oliver Wahlstrom.

The reason I chose this goal was for the context around it.

In January the Islanders the Islanders were hoping to bounce back from a dismal start to the year. And with a 7-2-1 record since December 7, it looked like the Isles were on their way heading to Philly.

Facing the Flyers for the second time in two nights, the game needed a shootout to decide who got the second point. And you'll remember that the shootout went deep. Like 18 shooters deep.

That 18th shooter was Oliver Wahlstrom. Barry Trotz confusingly decided to try a few other guys before Oliver Wahlstrom. This situation was the perfect microcosm of the Wahlstrom-Trotz dynamic. Trotz was punishing Wahlstrom for not capitalizing in previous shootout attempts on the year. And so he made the kid wait it out.

While Wahlstrom was 0/3 on the year in the shootout (pre-Jan 18), Beauvillier was also 0/3, and Barzal was 0/1. Was it fair to single out Wahlstrom like this? I don't think so. But Trotz did, and to his credit, he got the desired outcome from his young player.

And that's basically the story of Wahlstrom's season. Was it fair that Whalstrom's ice-time was cut time and time again because Trotz was looking for something specific out of him? I don't think so. Did he play particularly well enough to deserve more ice-time? Also, I don't think so. But sometimes a good way to get a player to perform is to give him more. And that's something Barry Trotz just didn't try with Wahlstrom this year.