Before the start of the 2021-22 season, NY Islanders prospect defenseman Bode Wilde was shipped off to Sweden on loan to play for Vasterviks IK in the HockeyAllsvenskan league. Wilde was banished due to his lack of compliance with Lou Lamoriello's mandate to receive the Covid-19 vaccine as the NHL left the vaccination rules up to its respective clubs. Now, a new ruling by the NHL emerges that opens the door for the former 2018 second-round draft pick to return to the North American game.
Although he's out on loan, Wilde is on an NHL contract having signed a three-year entry level deal in December of 2018. As per the new Covid-19 protocols, players on NHL contracts can't be denied from participating in club activities based on their vaccination status for the upcoming season. That means Wilde can continue choosing to be unvaccinated and return to this side of the pond to play hockey. After speaking his mind on Instagram about his decision, it doesn't appear he's open to changing his views, either:
"Hoping my human rights are enough to let me play… what a world."- Bode Wilde via Instagram
It's not just the rule change that leads to the speculation of Wilde's return to the Islanders. On Monday, it was pointed out that Wilde was on the Islanders' current roster via NHL.com, along with prospects Aatu Räty, William Dufour, and Calle Odelius who are all expected to attend training camp.
As others have speculated, Wilde could just be on this list until teams begin to officially waive and assign players to their roles for the upcoming season. After all, Richard Pánik is also on the roster and he was loaned to the Chicago Wolves last season.
Regardless of your stance, Wilde's return would surely help the Islanders' weak prospect pool from a pure talent perspective. Despite his draft status as a second-rounder, going into his draft year Wilde was seen as a first-round talent. The Islanders selected him 41st overall when he fell to them and when former head coach Barry Trotz got his eyes on him, he liked what he saw and felt he was still important to the Islanders' future.
"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
Training camp opens on September 21st, so time will tell if the Isles prospect will be in attendance. The rule change certainly indicates the possibility, but you can't rule out Lamoriello's creativity to break free from a player he doesn't want. If he's loosened the reigns of his ruling, we could see the 22-year-old back in orange and blue.