Multiple NY Islanders Unsure of Their Future With the Organization

Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Islanders
Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Islanders / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

With the off-season starting for the NY Islanders earlier than they hoped, Lou Lamoriello and the rest of the front office have some difficult decisions to make regarding who will be back with the organization next year.

Oliver Wahlstrom has been with the Islanders since he was drafted 11th overall in 2018, joining the team full-time during the 2020-21 season. Known to be a natural goal scorer during his time with the USNTDP, Wahlstrom has struggled to find the back of the net in his time with the Isles.

Wahstrom signed a one-year deal last summer, hoping to prove himself as a mainstay in the lineup. This season was the opposite of what he'd have hoped for, scoring only two goals and adding four assists in 32 games.

Shortly after Patrick Roy took over, the team waived Julien Gauthier to give Wahlstrom every opportunity to earn his spot within the lineup. He failed to run with the opportunity and soon ended up back in the press box.

It doesn't appear as if there is much of a future for Wahlstrom with the Islanders, and it may be best for both sides if they were to part ways.

An RFA this season, Wahlstrom could only say "We'll see," when asked whether he'll be back next season or whether he wants to be.

Robert Bortuzzo was a mid-season acquisition by Lamoriello, bringing in some veteran grit to a debilitated Islanders blue line. He missed multiple months due to a lower-body injury but became a mainstay in the lineup during the Islanders' late-season playoff push.

Bortuzzo's first and only point with the Islanders was his assist on Mat Barzal's double OT goal in Game 4 against the Carolina Hurricanes.

"No expectations right now," Bortuzzo said regarding if he plans on being back next season. "I'm sure there will be some type of meeting, but like I just said, I truly enjoyed my experience here... Obviously, I'd love to come back."

Another player who only knows the Islanders organization at the NHL level is Sebastian Aho. Though his numbers don't back it up, Aho and his versatility were a valuable asset to this team, capable of playing on his weak side while the Islanders were shorthanded due to injury.

Aho's size is his biggest flaw and would serve better as a team's seventh defenseman. The only issue there for the Islanders is they already have Samuel Bolduc under contract for another season, who was in a similar position to Aho not seeing as much ice time as they'd hoped.

"It's tough to say right now," said Aho regarding returning to the Islanders. "I've always enjoyed being here and I enjoy the group of guys we have here. Everyone within the organization, they've always taken care of me and my family. I would absolutely be open to coming back, but I'm going to have to just step away from hockey for a little bit and kind of figure it out by myself and with my family."