Oliver Wahlstrom accepts Islanders’ $874,125 qualifying offer

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Oliver Wahlstrom Islanders
Oliver Wahlstrom (AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson)

New York Islanders winger Oliver Wahlstrom has accepted his $874,125 qualifying offer for the 2023-24 season, the team announced on Monday. 

The deal puts the team approximately $500,000 over the NHLs’ $83.5 million salary cap, per CapFriendly, but it can stay above that mark by 10% until the season begins. If the Islanders don’t make a move for the remainder of the offseason — and Wahlstrom’s name had been reportedly floating around trade talks earlier this month — that would force the organization to demote the likes of Karson Kuhlman, Julien Gauthier, or Ross Johnston to its AHL affiliate in Bridgeport.

This becomes a vital season for the 23-year-old Wahlstrom, who missed the final four months of the regular season and the entire playoffs with an ACL injury suffered during a Dec. 27 game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. In 35 games, he recorded just seven goals with nine assists despite possessing the kind of shot that could see him develop into a legitimate top-six winger at the NHL level. 

If the organization still believes that Wahlstrom could meet those expectations, there is a realistic chance that he could see initial minutes at the start of the 2023-24 season on the Islanders’ first line alongside Bo Horvat and Mathew Barzal, though it would mean a shift from the right wing to the left. 

Islanders Kraken Bo Horvat
New York Islanders center Bo Horvat (14) celebrates with teammates Sebastian Aho (25) and Mathew Barzal (13) after scoring a goal during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Seattle Kraken Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023, in Elmont, N.Y. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

But this still is very much a developing young talent who is looking to tweak his game from that of a finesse standpoint to more of a power forward.

“I’m a big guy and I think I’m going to put a little bit more muscle on this summer,” Wahlstrom, who is listed at 6-foot-2, 204 lbs. said during his exit interview in May. “I think that’s where my game needs to trend. Obviously, I have the skill and that skill is still there, but I have a lot of fun when I create a little havoc. I think I stay in games more when I’m like that.

“I think the next step in my game is to be a hard-nosed power forward that puts the puck in the net and keep playing that style.”

For more on the Islanders and Oliver Wahlstrom, visit AMNY.com