NY Islanders Plus/Minus for 2023-24: Oliver Wahlstrom needs to have an explosive year

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The "minus" aspect for Wahlstrom is a little less about what he can control, and more of what has prevented him from breaking out in seasons past. Last year was his knee injury that he suffered in a December game against the Pittsburgh Penguins that put him out for the remainder of the season. GM Lou Lamoriello stated that they expect Wahlstrom to be ready for training camp in September and that he does not have much concern.

The other thing that could keep him from reaching big heights production-wise is a crowded, veteran roster that doesn't have as many chances to creep up the totem pole. This coaching staff and management crew typically favor veterans as being the leaders in the lineup, and Trotz had some trouble giving Wahlstrom significant minutes during his tenure. We can look back to even the 2020-21 playoffs when Wahlstrom got hurt and was only supposed to be out of the lineup for a few games, but the staff did not want to break the flow and replace even someone like Leo Komarov with Wahlstrom due to trust or lack thereof. Julian Gauthier also signed a deal to come to Long Island this offseason, which may not mean much for Wahlstrom's lineup security but is still another body to take account of. There is still the possibility of a Zach Parise returns as well, who would be hard to take out of the lineup after the season he just had.

An ideal breakout season for the young winger should have a goal of reaching around 50 points, maybe looking something like 20-25 goals and 25 assists give or take. That would be huge for an Islanders team that lacks scoring and needed more out of players such as Bo Horvat and even longtime Islander Josh Bailey, whose shortcomings resulted in his departure in the offseason. If Wahlstrom can find his way onto the scoresheet often along with becoming a solid top-line forward, the Islanders' first line could be dangerous this upcoming season.