The Islanders bringing top prospect Oliver Wahlstrom back to the U.S. from his loan to Sweden’s second-tier league earlier this week was just one sign NHL teams are expecting training camps to open soon.
The Rangers provided another, confirming a New York Post report that the Madison Square Garden Training Center in Greenburgh, New York, opened on Monday for informal, voluntary skates, split into two groups. Islanders players have had access to Northwell Health Ice Center in East Meadow well prior to this week.
The NHL is targeting Jan. 13 to begin its next season, to be preceded by a 10-day training camp that would not include preseason games. The league and the NHL Players’ Association continue to negotiate a return-to-play format and health and safety guidelines. The hope is that, despite the worsening COVID-19 pandemic, teams will be able to play games at their home arenas even if no fans are permitted, at least to start the season.
Both sides are hoping to vote on a proposal either by late this week or early next week.
Wahlstrom, the 11th overall pick in 2018, had four goals and four assists in 10 games for AIK.