The 2-3-0 New York Islanders are in for an early-season shake-up. The team has announced that veteran forward Casey Cizikas has been placed on injured reserve with a lower-body injury. In his place, the team has opted to recall not a similar two-way forward, but instead top offensive prospect Oliver Wahlstrom. It is the first career NHL promotion for the 2018 No. 11 overall pick and could provide a needed spark for the Islanders.
Wahlstrom, 19, has been on an NHL trajectory since he was nine years old. A youth hockey phenom who developed elite stick skills at a young age, Wahlstrom was recruited by the University of Maine at 14 years old, before switching his commitment to Harvard University, and then finally Boston College, where he played last year. After recording 48 goals and 94 points with the U.S. National Development team in his draft year, Wahlstrom’s production at BC – eight goals and 19 points in 36 games – left something to be desired. There was a mutual agreement that it was in his best interest to jump to the pro level, where he has three goals and six points in nine career AHL games thus far. There is no doubting Wahlstrom’s ability on the ice; a dangerous scoring threat, he possesses a killer instinct around the net, matched by his skill at possessing the puck and create opportunities for his teammates.
With the right linemates, it would bot be a surprise to see Wahlstrom find immediate success with the Islanders. A strong player with a mature sense of the game, the rookie scorer should fit right in. There has been no indication yet as to where Wahlstrom will line up, but it won’t take long to find out, as the Islanders host the St. Louis Blues this afternoon. It’s safe to assume that he will draw in right away in hopes of providing a boost to the league’s fifth-worst scoring offense thus far. Wahlstrom has also been given Josh Ho-Sang’s No. 26, truly marking a changing of the guard in New York. The team plans on this No. 26 playing a bigger role for a longer time, that much is certain.