NY Islanders: Lou Lamoriello excited to have more mature Wahlstrom back

Anaheim Ducks v New York Islanders
Anaheim Ducks v New York Islanders / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

This probably won't satisfy New York Islanders fans who waited for Lou Lamoriello to make a "hockey trade" all summer, but the GM said on Monday that having sniper Oliver Wahlstrom healthy and back with the team can have the same effect.

"He's put a great summer in; he's 100% and wasn't here last year. It's like a trade," said Lamoriello of the 23-year-old 2018 first-rounder.

In December, Wahlstrom suffered a knee injury that kept him out for the remainder of the season. Through 35 games, he had scored seven goals and nine assists. While he hadn't clicked on the top line with Mathew Barzal as many fans had hoped, his overall game was progressing after being on the receiving end of "tough love" from head coach Barry Trotz throughout the 2021-22 season.

"He's a size and strength power forward, said Lamoriello. "What he showed was what we thought he could do. He's matured, knows the game a lot better, and knows you have to play different aspects more than just shooting."

Lamoriello hates using the word "potential," but there are few players with more of it and upside offensively than Wahlstrom, who possesses the best shot on the team and could develop into a weapon on the power play with his ability to one-time the puck from the left circle.

Wahlstrom has said he viewed the injury as a blessing and a learning opportunity. The Islanders are hoping he makes the most of the opportunity he'll have on the ice to develop into a player that can be used in more situations throughout the game.