The Islanders certainly hope Tuesday night marked a glimpse into their future, quite possibly their near future.
Right wing Oliver Wahlstrom and defenseman Noah Dobson, the 11th and 12th overall picks in the 2018 NHL Draft, respectively, dressed for their first preseason game together as the Islanders beat the Flyers, 3-2, in overtime, at NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum on Mason Jobst’s goal at 4:07.
“It was a pretty good experience,” said Wahlstrom, who logged 14:56 of ice time and tied for the team high with five shots. “It was good to get the summer legs out of you and play a game.”
Both certainly have a chance to make the opening-night roster, though Wahlstrom is eligible to be re-assigned to the Islanders’ AHL affiliate in Bridgeport. Dobson can only either be kept on the NHL roster or be re-assigned to his Quebec Major Junior Hockey League team.
Dobson had 21:25 of ice time and had the secondary assist on Jordan Eberle’s equalizer at 18:26 of the third period with the Islanders’ skating six-on-five. He skated with Eberle and Mathew Barzal in the three-on-three overtime.
Both saw time on the power play and the penalty kill.
“As a player, you want to be used in all situations,” Dobson said.
Wahlstrom, poking away at the crease on the power play after ex-Islander goalie J.F. Berube clamped down on the puck with his glove at 3:49 of the third period, got into a shoving match with defenseman Travis Sanheim.
Wahlstrom and Dobson both also played in a 5-4 rookie game shootout win over the Flyers at Allentown, Pennsylvania on Sept. 11, with Wahlstrom scoring the only goal in the shootout.
Dobson played two games during the preseason last year, with one assist, before being re-assigned to his junior team. Wahlstrom was starting his freshman – and only – season at Boston College.
“Last year, I don’t think I really got to a comfort level where I was able to make plays and play to the capability I’m able to,” Dobson said.
As he was for one of last year’s preseason games, the right-shooting Dobson was paired with top-four fixture Nick Leddy on Tuesday.
“For his age, he seems to have a certain poise about him, a way of seeing the game and a way of executing,” Trotz said of Dobson. “We’ll see if he can take the next step because he’s a real good prospect.”
Trotz added Wahlstrom, “looks like a man now, he’s a big body. He’s got those special hands and release and he’s learning to keep his feet active.”
Notes & Quotes: Starting goalie Thomas Greiss stopped 14 of 15 shots in 30:02 and Jared Comeau made 10 saves…Derick Brassard tied the game at 1-1 at 6:52 of the third period…Barzal had two assists and Anders Lee and Leddy each had one…Ross Johnston fought the Flyers’ Kurtis Gabriel at 15:20 of the second period, also receiving a 10-minute misconduct…Wednesday will be the Islanders’ first day off since training camp opened and the first cuts to the 70-man roster may be made. Trotz said special teams’ work would begin on Thursday.