Islanders’ Wahlstrom Expected to Leave Boston College

New York Islanders prospect Oliver Wahlstrom will reportedly leave Boston College after just one season with the program. Despite high expectations, it was a rocky campaign for the Eagles who finished with a 14-22-3

Oliver Wahlstrom Islanders
Oliver Wahlstrom was selected by the New York Islanders in the first round of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

However, this is not the first time the winger from Quincy, Massachusetts has altered his path. In 2014, Wahlstrom committed to the University of Maine at the age of 13. Less than two years later, he pulled back from Maine and committed to Harvard. Roughly three years later, he had another change of heart and committed to BC.

The drama didn’t end there. Midway through his freshman season, there was speculation that he would leave the program. The team took to social media and claimed that it was merely a rumor and that Wahlstrom would remain an Eagle for the rest of the season:

However, Wahlstrom will reportedly not return to BC next season. The Eagles’ struggles combined with his own likely influenced his decision. The 18-year-old’s path from here is unclear, but it seems that he has a few options on the table.

Wahlstrom’s Struggles at BC

While the Eagles didn’t meet expectations during the 2018-19 season, neither did Wahlstrom. He registered eight goals and 11 assists in 36 games. Nineteen points isn’t a bad total for a freshman, but the bar for the 6-foot-2, 209-pound forward was set pretty high.

For a player expected to be one of the biggest offensive threats amongst the 2018 NHL draft class, he underperformed. In one instance, Wahlstrom went 14 games without a goal, over one-third of his season. It was a hot-and-cold season for the team as well. The Eagles had both a five and six-game losing streak though managed a number of short winning streaks as well.

BC Oliver Wahlstrom
Oliver Wahlstrom fell short of expectations during his time at Boston College. (Credit: Boston College Athletics)

Just two of Wahlstrom’s eight goals and three of his helpers came on the man advantage. At the end of the campaign, he had a plus-minus rating of minus-6 and just a 6.6 shooting percentage.

Wahlstrom’s Next Step

The Islanders may decide to sign Wahlstrom to an entry-level contract. However, given the winger’s struggles during his collegiate career, they may also opt to hold out. If management decide to wait on inking the young forward to a contract, he may look to play in one of the many European leagues.

Related: Kieffer Bellows – Islanders Prospect is the Real Deal

Wahlstrom has seen success in the past, namely with the United States National Development Team. During the 2016-17 season, he registered 24 goals and 16 assists in 63 games as a member of the U-17 team. He boosted those stats as a member of the U-18 team the following season, racking up 40 goals and 43 helpers in 54 games.

In both 2017 and 2018, he helped his nation win both a gold and silver medal in the U-18 Men’s World Championship. He accumulated 11 goals and three assists in 14 games across those two tournaments. He followed this up by taking home a World Junior Championship silver medal this past winter when he potted four points in seven games.

Oliver Wahlstrom
Oliver Wahlstrom had great success during his time representing Team USA. (Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images)

His successful past is what the Islanders will consider when they are faced with the decision of signing Wahlstrom. His performance at BC might be concerning but it may be best for the Isles to develop their prospect from within the organization. Wahlstrom may have to grind it out in the American Hockey League for a season or two, but it would give the team more control over his playing time, linemates, and other factors.

If that doesn’t happen for the former Eagle, a short stint in a European league could do him well. While adjusting to life across the Atlantic Ocean is no easy task, the most important thing for the winger’s young career is to keep on playing. Despite his lackluster freshman season, Wahlstrom still has great potential as a lethal goalscorer in the NHL and the Islanders should still be content with their 11th overall pick.