It’s a little odd to have the offseason and the preseason and the playoffs collide, but it’s also very 2020: As the Islanders continue their chase for a conference final appearance (and ideally more, of course) in the Stanley Cup playoffs, they’re making plans for next season, which won’t start till mid-winter for them. Part of those plans entail starting very soon for as many of their prospects as they can find homes for.
The latest to find a landing spot is Oliver Wahlstrom, who has been loaned to AIK of Sweden’s second-tier, HockeyAllsvenskan. That follows the earlier news that Simon Holmstrom would be loaned to Vita Hästen.
The Holmström news last week reminded us that this is a thing Lou Lamoriello should and would be working on. Their last two top picks (Noah Dobson was technically one pick after Wahlstrom, and is still an extra with the NHL squad), Holmström (2019) and Wahlstrom (2018) are pretty important assets to develop. But the circumstances of the pandemic have meant they’ve not had meaningful action since March. With a long fall without North American leagues looming, both prospects finding a temporary home is a win that should pay dividends.
Holmström, of course, is a native of Sweden who just spent his first year in North America at age 18. But Wahlstrom also has ties to the country as his father, Joakim, is a native who played in the Allsvenskan after first coming to North America to play for NCAA Maine.
Don’t know how many more in the Islanders system will find opportunity abroad — or willingness, as moving abroad in a pandemic is no small matter — but we’ll take what we can get. Plus, this will give us some prospects to monitor while everyone else is in offseason mode.