On Nov fifteenth, in a 4-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, 21-year-old ahead Oliver Wahlstrom solely performed 8:33 minutes of ice time. The shortage of time on the ice for Wahlstrom was a shock to many contemplating he not solely is without doubt one of the finest scorers on the New York Islanders however a pivotal a part of a struggling offense, which is scoring solely 2.00 targets per sport.
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Wahlstrom hasn’t scored a purpose because the Nov 4th sport towards the Montreal Canadiens, which the Islanders gained 6-2 and the dry spell might be part of the explanation he performed a decreased function within the sport. Likewise, inconsistency is just not a brand new factor for Wahlstrom, as he scored eight targets and 5 assists within the span of 16 video games final season to then go 10 video games with out recording some extent.
Nevertheless, this season, the 21-year-old ahead is second on the workforce in targets scored with 5 targets, trailing solely Brock Nelson, who can be out for the upcoming weeks with a lower-body harm. If the Islanders and the offense are going to show round their season, successful solely 5 of their first 15 video games, they are going to want Walstrom to play a major function within the turnaround and step up on the offensive finish of the ice.
Wahlstrom is without doubt one of the most correct shooters on the workforce and probably within the NHL. The correct shot specifically provides him an edge within the offensive zone if he can discover open ice. Wahlstrom moreover is finest at discovering area within the offensive zone by the faceoff circles, permitting him to choose aside a goaltender off of sturdy puck motion for the Islanders. Furthermore, the 21-year-old ahead is without doubt one of the finest skaters on the workforce and might create on the wing loads of scoring probabilities and probably develop right into a playmaker as he attracts opponents and opens up the ice for the remainder of the offense.
Which Ahead Line Greatest Fits Wahlstrom?
Contemplating his ability set, the query is the place Wahlstrom ought to play, particularly with the Islanders line mixtures being shuffled on a nightly foundation, an unlucky results of shedding key gamers like Nelson, Anders Lee, and Josh Bailey. Wahlstrom isn’t going to be the playmaker or the skater that units up the purpose, not less than not but. As one of many extra promising forwards on the roster, it’s essential for head coach Barry Trotz to seek out the proper line for his younger ahead as it can jumpstart the offense altogether.
Ideally, Wahlstrom advantages essentially the most from a middle who takes up defensemen and probably opens up the ice within the offensive zone and particularly by the faceoff circles for efficient pictures on the web. The skaters that Wahlstrom usually performs on the identical shift with are Mathew Barzal and Jean-Gabriel Pageau, however with Pageau struggling to start out the season, it could be in the perfect curiosity to maneuver the 21-year-old ahead to the highest line to present the Islanders a stronger scoring assault.
The Islanders Want The Youth Within the Ahead Unit
The Pittsburgh Penguins had an growing old roster just a few years in the past however a younger Jake Guentzel performed an important function in revitalizing the ahead unit and giving it a younger scoring presence. Equally, the Boston Bruins just a few years again had been a workforce on the decline with many gamers previous their prime however David Pastrnak grew to become the younger top-line goalscorer to return the workforce to one of many extra aggressive ones within the NHL.
The Islanders have one of many oldest rosters within the NHL with an common age of 29.8 and early on within the 2021-22 season, the roster has appeared like one of many older ones within the NHL, particularly in terms of skating and the puck motion. Wahlstrom can return a few of the fire-power that the Islanders offense at the moment lacks however extra importantly, convey a powerful youth presence to the ahead traces that the workforce at the moment wants.
Mike Fink joined The Hockey Writers in November 2020 and covers the New York Islanders for The Hockey Writers, a workforce that has turned themselves into reputable cup contenders with Barry Trotz as the top coach. Along with protecting the Islanders, Fink has written for a number of sports activities blogs and platforms protecting the NHL, NFL, MLB and faculty sports activities.