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Islanders’ Oliver Wahlstrom out for season with knee injury

TAMPA, Fla. — Lou Lamoriello confirmed what everybody already knew.

Oliver Wahlstrom is out for the season.

“He will not be back [this season], yes, but he will definitely be ready before the summer’s over,” Lamoriello said before the Islanders’ 5-0 loss to the Lightning.

That comes as little surprise, given that Wahlstrom last played before Christmas, and was last seen sporting crutches and a brace on his left knee.

The injury to the right winger was tough news for the Islanders at the time, since the 22-year-old had earned a regular spot in the lineup and impressed with his physicality following an up-and-down 2021-22 season.

“I just thought he was really coming along,” coach Lane Lambert said. “He adds a certain element to our hockey team that was, at that point, needed. And we’ve missed him.

“Just a matter of him getting better and getting ready for what’s to come next.”

Oliver Wahlstrom
NHLI via Getty Images

For Wahlstrom, a restricted free agent after this season, there’s little suspense over whether he’ll return to the Islanders — it’s incredibly rare for a restricted free agent to sign an offer sheet in the NHL, let alone leave — but the injury likely cost him some money as well.

The good news is that he’ll be ready for training camp, and that he should have plenty of runway to get back to full strength with nine months between the original injury and the start of the 2022-23 season.

Lamoriello had no interest in discussing his own future, seeming to take offense to a question on the subject Saturday.

“I never talk about myself,” Lamoriello said, before railing about the presupposition that the original deal he signed with the Islanders will expire at the end of the season.

It is well-known around the league and has been widely reported that the deal expires after the end of the season.

Sebastian Aho traveled with the team to Tampa and skated Saturday morning, but did not play against the Lightning.

“He pushes the puck up the ice for us, competes hard,” Lambert said. “He’s had a great season and so we look forward to getting him back when we do.”

Travis Mitchell and Aidan Fulp, whom the Islanders signed to entry-level deals on Friday out of college, also signed tryout deals allowing them to play games with AHL Bridgeport.

“We’re glad we can get them, size and strength is something that they both [have] — one’s a left shot, one’s a right shot,” Lamoriello said. “They’re both in Bridgeport right now, so they’ll get acclimated to the organization and I’m sure get in the lineup before the season’s over.”