Oliver Wahlstrom’s prove-it season isn’t going the way the sharpshooter or the Islanders would have hoped.
The former first-rounder was a healthy scratch for Tuesday night’s 5-4 overtime loss to the Sharks at UBS Arena after going without a point in his last four games and notching just one goal and three assists in his 10-game stretch in the lineup.
Coach Lane Lambert said during the recent 2-1-0 road trip that he needed to see more consistency from Wahlstrom, selected 11th overall in 2018. Tuesday, he said his decision was based more on keeping Julien Gauthier – who scored for the second straight game – and Hudson Fasching in the lineup.
“He’s been fairly consistent for the most part,” Lambert said of Wahlstrom, who has two goals and three assists in 17 games. “We’ve got players. There’s internal competition here. There’s guys that came into the lineup and they played well.”
Wahlstrom, 23, settled for a one-year, $874,125 deal as a restricted free agent. He is again an impending RFA, though this time with arbitration rights.
Defenseman Sebastian Aho (injured reserve/upper body) participated in the latter portion of the morning skate, marking his first time on ice with teammates since exiting the Islanders’ 5-3 win in Ottawa on Nov. 24 early in the first period.
Aho is eligible to be activated but Lambert said there is no timetable yet for his return.
“He’s getting better on a daily basis,” Lambert said. “The fact that he was with the group today was really encouraging.”
Simon Holmstrom had his first two assists of the season…Jean-Gabriel Pageau, with the secondary assist on defenseman Ryan Pulock’s third-period power-play goal, reached 300 career points…Bo Horvat extended his point streak to four games with two assists… Matt Martin and defenseman Grant Hutton remained healthy scratches.