The odds that either of the Islanders’ two first-round picks this year immediately would earn a roster spot were not all that high.
But right wing Oliver Wahlstrom, picked No. 11 out of the U.S. National Development Program, made it official when he told NHL.com at the World Junior Summer Showcase in Kamloops, British Columbia he would head straight to Boston College for his freshman season.
Defenseman Noah Dobson, picked No. 12 from Acadie-Bathurst (QMJHL), will attend training camp as he still can be returned to his junior team.
“There will be no training camp with the Islanders this year so I’ll move into Boston College on Aug. 23 and I’m excited for that,” Wahlstrom told NHL.com on Sunday. “It’s going to be a new adventure. It’s a good place for me to develop before the NHL so it’ll be fun.”
The 6-1, 205-pound Wahlstrom had 22 goals and 23 assists in 26 USHL games for the U.S. Under-18 squad last season.
Many expected Wahlstrom to be a top-10 pick at the NHL Draft in Dallas on June 22-23, but the Rangers took Russian forward Vitali Kravtsov at No. 9 and then the Oilers selected defenseman Evan Bouchard at No. 10.
Wahlstrom, from Quincy, Massachusetts, said at the Islanders summer prospect development camp he thought he should have been picked before Kravtsov.
“I think the New York Rangers made a mistake there,” Wahlstrom said on June 26. “But it’s fine. I’m just really happy to be with the Islanders.”
Dobson, from Summerside, Prince Edward Island, had 17 goals and 52 assists in 67 games last season for Acadie-Bathurst and said at prospect camp he was looking forward to training camp.
“I want to get stronger this summer and come into camp and be able to compete against men and give them a hard decision not to send me back to juniors,” Dobson said on June 27.
The Islanders selected eight players in this year’s draft and the team said on Monday it had yet to be determined which other draftees might be at training camp.
Bode Wilde, selected at No. 41 after being considered a first-round talent, is a possibility as the Montreal-born defenseman has opted to play Canadian junior hockey after de-committing from Michigan.