There was a bit of mass hysteria by the New York Islanders faithful on Monday, as people noticed that 22-year-old forward Oliver Wahlstrom made an edit to his Instagram bio. What once read “NY/BOS” is no longer with there being a popcorn emoji, but this change was not new.
It was just noticed now.
Convert Oxygen to Carbon Dioxide and breathe.
That being said, now would be a good time to share all relevant information regarding Oliver Wahlstrom remaining with the New York Islanders.
While rumors swirled leading up to and at the 2022 NHL Draft, there were thoughts that Wahlstrom could be a piece in a trade for a player like Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun.
However, after talking to a few league sources, it seemed that Oliver Wahlstrom was not a player the Islanders were looking to include in a deal.
A few weeks later, I touched base again and was told that Oliver Wahlstrom was not being shopped at all. That’s when I found out about the Josh Bailey information I shared on Sunday evening.
Oliver Wahlstrom had 13 goals and 11 assists in 73 games in 2021-22.
It was a down year for a player that in the shortened 2020-21 season, had 12 goals and nine assists in just 44 games and shot the puck at a 12.8% clip. This past season, Wahlstrom’s shooting percentage was just 8.3%.
The 2022-23 season is critical as he will be entering year four in the NHL, his third full season.
Wahlstrom and Barry Trotz had their moments, as Trotz wanted Wahlstrom to commit more to the little details of the New York Islanders system, but he struggled mightily to do that.
That led to Wahlstrom seeing limited ice time and even watching from the player’s suite.
Trotz was always hard on Wahlstrom, failing to give him credit but making sure to call him out in the media when things went south.
In Wahlstrom’s exit interview, he spoke on his relationship with Barry Trotz, who has since been fired.
“Yeah, it was good. You know, I need tough love sometimes,” Wahlstrom said. “It’s part of the game, it’s part of the business. Yeah, it was just you know, ups and downs for me obviously this year but no, you know, I love the game, and I take information and try to use that and use that to different parts of my game. So yeah, it was a good learning experience for sure.”
As of now, the New York Islanders are still missing a legitimate sniper to help get this offense to another level, which would take much-needed pressure off of the defense.
Even if the Islanders sign Nazem Kadri, Wahlstrom and his growth are still critical for the New York Islanders to have success going forward.
Early in the 2021-22 season, Wahlstrom was scoring goals, with seven in his first 20 games, but was too much of a one-dimensional player. He had zero assists over that span, and the Islanders offense was struggling mightily, with just 1.9 goals per game and a record of 5-10-5.
“He’s got to continue to evolve his game by learning how to play with different sets of guys so that he’s just not an ‘I’m a shooter, get me the puck kind of guy’,” Trotz said following a win against Ottawa back on Dec. 7. “He feels he’s a goal scorer and when he’s not scoring, that’s all he can think about.”
Towards the end of the season, Trotz said one of his best lines, discussing Wahlstrom and everyone wanting him to get a chance on the Islanders top line.
“He’s got lots of talent. Don’t be impatient. He’s gonna be good. He’s gonna be fine,” Trotz said. “You guys are like McDonald’s. You guys want everything like right now.”
Those opportunities need to be earned, and coming into training camp, we will see how much work Wahlstrom put in during the offseason.
“For me, everything can be better,” Wahlstrom said in his last media availability in April. “This summer. I’m gonna work on shooting, goalscoring, skating, on my nutrition, everything.”
“I know the type of player I can be, and I still have confidence in myself.”
Now under the tutelage of Lane Lambert, who has been an associate head coach with the New York Islanders since 2018, does Oliver Wahlstrom get a clean slate?
And could this upcoming season be the year he breaks out?