Oliver Wahlstrom Steps Up in First Two Islander Wins

The NY Islanders have notched their first two wins of the season, besting the Anaheim Ducks 7-1 and the San Jose Sharks 5-2, both in UBS Arena. These four points come after dropping the ball against Florida in what looked like an evenly matched game to get things started, leaving the team with a 2-1 record in the first three games.

Scoring 14 goals in two games is an exciting feat for this Islanders team considering that it has been the major hole in their game over the last few years. Yes, these wins came against two teams that they should absolutely beat, but that is hardly a reason not to remain hopeful for this season. We have seen the Islanders taking more offensive risks, holding on to the puck in zone entries and creating opportunities for more shots. Even the defense is scoring now, contributing a total of 11 pts on the 15 goals so far, including 2 goals each coming from Dobson, Salo, and Mayfield.

Amongst the offensive outburst stands out one forward in particular, Oliver Wahlstrom. Wally did not play in the season opener but has collected 3 goals and 1 assist in the two games against the California visitors. Not only is he putting up points at an impressive pace so far but is doing so in a spectacular fashion. His goal on Saturday against Anaheim came on a breakaway pass from Pageau, leaving him with all the time in the world to make Gibson look like a rookie goaltender as he dragged it across the crease from his forehand for a top cheese backhand. We know the kid can shoot, but to see him take his chance with some dangles is all the more exciting.

Both of Oliver’s goals against San Jose were scored using his cannon of a shot. In fact, I would classify that thing as more of a Barrett .50 cal sniper rifle. With such a large stature, it is no wonder he has the release he does. The first of his two goals came directly off a faceoff win from Brock Nelson, where he came up from the left wing to the top of the circle and ripped it far right to take a 3-2 lead. The second goal to make it 4-2 came from the right circle after a pinch from Dobson kept the puck alive in the corner. The puck squeezed out and Wally wasted no time, leaning on his right foot for a heavy slapper to the left post. This play demonstrates his ability to be an elite goal scorer in the NHL, remaining aware of the play knowing where to shoot the puck, even from tough angles.

Oliver Wahlstrom is starting to look like the player every fan has been expecting him to be since he was drafted 11th overall in 2018. He is quicker to the puck and creating more opportunities for himself and others. He has also managed to avoid any turn-overs, and is credited with 8 SOG and 2 hits thus far in 2 games. With his maturity and skill level, he is certainly making his case for a consistent spot on the Islanders roster (but only missed game 1 due to upper-body injury). Coach Lambert has praised him in the media for his play, noting the improvement in getting the little things right. Getting the little things right is what creates the plays for natural shooters to be successful, and that has been Wally’s biggest weakness thus far. He will be a key player for this Islanders campaign, and his early success is a good sign of what is to come.

The Islanders will take on the NJ Devils and Tampa Bay Lightning next, and all eyes will be on the offense to see if we can continue to put up points on a regular basis.

Author: Anthony DiCostanzo

Islander fan living in Boston! #Metal #Hockey #Nature @anthonymdico (Twitter) @antdico25 (IG)

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