Oliver Wahlstrom is arguably the New York Islanders’ most hyped prospect since Mathew Barzal. His elite shot (which is likely what will be discussed in Scott Wheeler’s “The Gifted” series for The Athletic) as well as his ability to drive offensive play give reason for fans to be excited about the 18 year old.
In 26 USHL games, Wahlstrom had 22 goals and 45 points, and in his entire 62 games with the US National Team Development Program this year, he had 48 goals and 94 points. Some have questioned how much that is attributed to playing with Jack Hughes, who projects to be an elite center who will likely go 1st overall in the 2019 draft. However, Wahlstrom’s individual skill and ability stands out, making him the most promising prospect in the Islanders’ system.
There were some minor concerns with Wahlstrom’s disappointing World Juniors Summer Showcase performance, especially given the strong performance of the Isles’ other first round pick, Noah Dobson. However, it’s hard to judge a prospect based on a handful of games. The true test will be his performance at Boston College, where a strong season could earn him strong consideration for an NHL spot in the 2019-2020 season.
Wahlstrom’s elite play makes him an extremely valuable prospect for the Islanders. His success and continued development will be important going forward. With all high-scoring wingers, his play away from the puck is what will make a difference in his development, but his pure offensive ability is probably the best from his draft class, and the best the Islanders have seen in their prospect pool in a very long time.
Lucky for the Islanders some teams in 2018 decided to draft for need and focused on selecting centres. A pure goal scorer with speed to burn, Oliver Walstrom just turned 18 and he's already 6'1 205 pounds. It's been a long time since the Islanders drafted a right shooting, goal scoring power forward on Walstrom's level. I can't even think of a comparable.
My valuations tend to favor present contributions ahead of just raw talent, unless we're talking about some serious talent. Wahlstrom's shooting talent is outstanding, possibly even the best in this draft class, and should the rest of his game develop properly the Islanders will have a top-line wing joining the club in a year or two.
I like guys who score a lot of goals because scoring goals is literally the entire point of hockey.
I have no idea how he was available when the Islanders were picking. He probably shouldn't have been lower than seventh at the worst. I'm looking forward to him being better than Kravsov who the Rangers took instead of Wahlstrom.
- #4 Anthony Beauvillier had a breakout second half
- #5 Noah Dobson has top-four potential
- #6 Josh Ho-Sang gets a fresh start
- #7 Devon Toews can make the jump
- #8 Kieffer Bellows goes pro
- #9 Where in the world is Bode Wilde?
- #10 Adam Pelech needs to find a role
- #11 Sebastian Aho made a strong impression
- #12 Linus Soderstrom could make his mark
- #13 Ilya Sorokin remains in Russia
- #14 Parker Wotherspoon needs to avoid a slow start
- #15 Mitchell Vande Sompel looks to build upon strong rookie season
- #16 David Quenneville is small but rounded
- #17 Ruslan Iskhakov brings skill, not size, to UConn
- #18 Athletic but inconsistent young goalie Jakub Skarek
- #19 Skill and size but speed questions for Otto Koivula
- #20 A make or break year for Michael Dal Colle
- #21 Questions about Anatoly Golyshev
- #22 New left wing Blade Jenkins
- #23 Switzerland’s Yannick Rathgeb
- #24 Young Finn Robin Salo
- #25 Solid defenseman Kyle Burroughs
- The Roster Cuts