Friday: That was fun while it lasted. Kennedy updates the situation by tweeting that Wahlstrom will play today for Boston College and has “no intention of leaving the team.” Perhaps there was some frustration on the young forward’s part that leaked out, and he will now try to squash any rumors of his disappointment.
Thursday: Islanders prospect Oliver Wahlstrom appears to be looking for a change of scenery as Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News reports that he is looking to leave Boston College. The eleventh pick back in 2018 is off to a slow start in his freshman college season with just two goals in nine games so far this season while the Eagles have won just three of those contests.
There are a few options for the 18-year-old if he does indeed decide to leave. The USHL quietly announced (Twitter link) that Tri-City of the USHL has added his rights so if he wants to return to that league, that’s where he would have to play. However, Mark Divver of the Providence Journal adds (via Twitter) that there hasn’t been any contact between Wahlstrom and the Storm just yet. He’d basically be dropping down a level to play there which may not be the best for his long-term development. Transferring to another NCAA school would result in him having to sit so that’s not an ideal option either.
At the major junior level, his rights are held by Cape Breton of the QMJHL. Kennedy notes that his preference is to not play in that league but he can’t be dealt to an OHL or WHL franchise. That would seemingly rule out the junior route but there may be teams within the QMJHL that could try to convince him to report to them and then acquire his rights from the Screaming Eagles.
Since Wahlstrom wasn’t drafted out of the CHL, he’s eligible to turn pro and play in the AHL. Not every team is willing to have 18-year-old players suiting up at that level though so that’s far from a guarantee.
Interestingly enough, he is the second Islander first rounder in as many years in this situation. 2016 top pick Kieffer Bellows opted to leave Boston University last season and finished out the campaign with Portland of the WHL. He turned pro for this season and is off to a decent start with AHL Bridgeport.
With the World Juniors fast approaching and Wahlstrom being a strong candidate to make that team, this is something he’ll want to resolve quickly. With that in mind, there’s a good chance there will be more information about this available in the coming days with him deciding to leave or declaring his intentions to stay with Boston College at least for the time being.