Comparisons will be inevitable.
Vitali Kravtsov and Oliver Wahlstrom are both forwards and both first-round selections of New York teams, the Rangers taking Kravtsov at No. 9 on Friday night at Dallas and the Islanders picking Wahlstrom two spots later with the Oilers taking defenseman Evan Bouchard in between.
Wahlstrom disagrees with that draft order.
“I think the New York Rangers made a mistake, there,” Wahlstrom said on Tuesday, the first day of on-ice sessions for the weeklong Islanders prospect development camp at Northwell Health Ice Center. “But it’s fine. I’m just really happy to be with the Islanders. I look at what you do after the draft. I could care less where I go in the draft.”
Many expected Wahlstrom, a member of the U.S. Under-18 squad who has committed to Boston College, to be a top-10 pick after notching 22 goals and 23 assists in 26 USHL games.
Still, the 6-1, 207-pound Wahlstrom, from Quincy, Massachusetts, expressed confidence in his ability to show the Islanders he could make the NHL roster out of training camp.
“His level of skill is off the charts,” said Bridgeport (AHL) coach Brent Thompson, who directed the practices.
Former first-rounder Josh Ho-Sang, who last season accused the Islanders of mishandling his development, did not skate as a precautionary measure because of body soreness. He will be re-evaluated on Wednesday.
Thompson said the new Islanders regime of president Lou Lamoriello and coach Barry Trotz gives Ho-Sang a chance to erase his often rocky relationship with the organization.
“It’s a 100 percent clean slate, for everyone,” Thompson said. “It’s a chance to reinvent themselves.”
Defenseman Parker Wotherspoon was also held off the ice for precautionary reasons.
Adhering to Lamoriello’s ban on facial hair, Thompson shaved off his goatee . . . There are some familiar bloodlines on the 53-player camp roster. Draftees Jake Pivonka, Christian Krygier and Kieffer Bellows are all the sons of former NHL players, Michal Pivonka (Capitals), Todd Krygier (Whalers, Capitals, Ducks) and Brian Bellows (North Stars, Canadiens, Lightning, Ducks, Capitals), respectively. Draftee David Quenneville is the brother of Devils first-rounder John Quenneville and the cousin of Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk and Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville. And camp invitees Michael Babcock and Kyle MacLean are the sons of Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock and Coyotes assistant John MacLean, respectively . . . A limited number of tickets remain on sale for Thursday’s scrimmage at 6 p.m.