Islanders: What's up with Bode Wilde?

New York Islanders Training Camp
New York Islanders Training Camp / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

It's easy to forget, but prospect defenseman Bode Wilde is still the property of the New York Islanders. After refusing to get vaccinated prior to the start of the 2021-22 season, Wilde was banished overseas where he was loaned to Vasterviks IK in Sweden.

Loaned is an interesting word. It comes with the expectation that he will be returned. However, if the rules don't change, it's hard to imagine he'll ever be back, at least for the Islanders following his statement on the vaccine mandate via Instagram:

"Hoping my human rights are enough to let me play… what a world."

Bode Wilde

Eight months before Wilde's loan, the former second-round draft pick took part in the January 2021 training camp with the Islanders prior to their abbreviated season. Wilde impressed former head coach Barry Trotz who claimed Wilde to be a "John Carlson type" defenseman. After learning about his vaccination status and then his loan in September, Trotz stated he believed the organization still viewed him as a good prospect:

"We’re just trying to find him the best place that he can continue to develop. We think he’s a pretty good prospect."

Barry Trotz

This season in the HockeyAllsvenskan league, Wilde tallied one goal and nine assists in 40 games. That's probably lower than it should have been for Wilde who is viewed as a higher-skilled player than the second-highest professional league in Sweden.

The NHL has left it up to their organizations when it comes to vaccination rules. We've seen teams such as the Detroit Red Wings allow exemptions for players like Tyler Bertuzzi so it's not impossible for Wilde to return to North America to play hockey. It's slim pickings, however, as it's not a popular exemption. If the rules don't change and he's adamant about returning to this side of the pond, Wilde will either have to get vaccination to return to the Islanders, or he could end up in a "hockey trade" to a team that's more willing to work with Wilde's beliefs.