With the 11th overall selection at the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, the New York Islanders chose to select the incredibly talented Oliver Wahlstrom. Wahlstrom has been on many fans’ radar for a number of years now, thanks to many highlight-reel goals he was scoring as a kid. At the time of being drafted, he had just wrapped up a 62-game season for the U.S. National U-18 Team in which he scored 48 goals and had 94 points.
After that impressive year, Wahlstrom played in just one season with Boston College before turning pro heading into the 2019-20 campaign. His first professional season, which he spent most of in Bridgeport, was just okay as he managed 10 goals and 22 points in 45 games. He was also able to suit up in nine games with the Isles, but was held pointless. As of now, he is with the Islanders to begin the 2020-21 season and has a goal and an assist in eight games played. Given that he is averaging under 12 minutes in ice time per game, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him sent back down to Bridgeport in the near future. Nevertheless, he is an extremely talented and exciting prospect who has a chance to turn into a star at the NHL level.
1. Ilya Sorokin
While it took quite a while for Ilya Sorokin – taken 78th overall in 2014 – to make his way to the NHL, the time is finally here. Islanders fans have been very excited about Sorokin for quite some time, and for very good reason. Over his past five seasons in the KHL (184 games), he has posted a ridiculous 1.38 Goals Against Average (GAA) and a .938 Save Percentage (SV%).
Those numbers are why not just Islanders fans but NHL fans in general were thrilled this past July when it was announced that the two sides had signed a two-year, Entry-Level deal. Coming into this season, it was made clear that it would be a learning experience for Sorokin, as the Isles had made it clear Semyon Varlamov was still their number one goalie.
That has held true so far, as he has made 11 starts compared to Sorokin’s four. Still, management has to be thrilled they were finally able to convince him to come to the NHL, as he has the potential to become one of the best netminders in the NHL, while he showed flashes of that on Tuesday with his first career win and shutout in the league.