Will Wahlstrom Emerge?
A big x-factor for the Islanders will be Oliver Wahlstrom and if he can make significant strides in his game this coming season. If Wahlstrom could have a similar jump in his play that Dobson did last year, then watch out.
Wahlstrom did get off to a good start last season scoring five goals by early November. But after that, the rest of the season wasn't productive as the Islanders would hope as he finished with 13 goals and 24 points in 73 games.
It's undeniable that Wahlstrom has offensive talent specifically putting pucks in net. His shot is a laser and in the early start of his career he has taken over games offensively, albeit, those games are on a shortlist. The point is if Wahlstrom could emerge this season to say a 25-goal scorer, that would be a big improvement for the Islanders and it should reflect in the standings.
But Wahlstrom's development this season isn't just about the here and now. The Islanders are counting on the then 22-year-old winger to become one of the team's key offensive cogs for years to come. Given the age, and the contract situations on many of the forwards the Isles need Wahlstrom to be a scorer for both the short and long-term.
An ideal situation would be if Barzal and Wahlstrom could mesh together on both ends of the ice. Barzal's play-making ability along with Wahlstrom's shot could be both dynamic and difference-making for the Isles in terms of being a Stanley Cup contender.