Sansided

Oliver Wahlstrom finally gets a chance on top line

Calgary Flames v New York Islanders
Calgary Flames v New York Islanders / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
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New York Islanders fans have been calling for Oliver Wahlstrom to jump up to the team's top line. Starved for goals, the Isles could use a guy like Wahlstrom who sits second in goals on the team with eight on the year.

The young forward isn't a perfect player, but he's blessed with a wicked release, he's a volume shooter, and he converts those shots into goals quite frequently with a 13.6% shooting percentage. It's why Isles fans have been calling for this move for a long time.

New York Islanders: Oliver Wahlstrom on top line

Again, the Islanders just don't score enough goals. With 51 goals for this year, only the Montreal Canadiens have scored fewer. For a team hoping beyond hope that they can still make the playoffs that number has to change and change quickly.

Getting Wahlstrom up there would not only give him more ice time but allow him to play with more skilled players. Players like Mathew Barzal that has a knack of opening up the ice for the players around him. Something that should allow Wahlstrom to thrive.

Of course, we won't see that tonight. Mathew Barzal is still out with COVID (and will remain out for a while). But it's clear that Barry Trotz is auditioning Oliver Wahlstrom for a top-line role. If the 2018 first-rounder performs well now with Barzal out, you have to think that Wahlstrom will be there when Barzal returns.

So what does he have to do to stay there? What does "perform well" mean for Wahlstrom? Produce would be a good start obviously. But it's a bit more than that. We've seen Wahlstrom produce but have his ice time go down. Trotz wants Wahlstrom to use his teammates more. That means seeing the play, seeing where the other Isles are on the ice, and feeding them if he doesn't have a clear chance.

If he can do both, there's no way no.26 leaves the top line.

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