The NHL season is about halfway through their regular season and the New York Islanders are one of the best teams in the league. The New York Islanders rookie class has had a huge part in the team’s success. The New York Islanders rookie class includes forwards Oliver Wahlstrom and Keiffer Bellows. The New York Islanders rookie goaltender, Ilya Sorokin has also played a huge part in the team’s success. The continued strong play will only help the Islanders this season and in the future. These New York Islanders might just be the players that can lead the franchise to similar success to the great 1980,1981,1982, and 1983 teams.
Oliver Wahlstrom: Impressive Start to Rookie Season
The New York Islanders rookie has been nothing but impressive so far this season for New York. The 20-year-old from Portland, Maine was drafted by the Islanders 11th overall during the 2018 NHL draft. The hype surrounding Wahlstrom came long before his draft year as he scored an absolutely sensational goal at the TD Garden when he was nine years old.
This amazing goal garnered a lot of attention toward Wahlstrom and his crafty skills. Years later Wahlstrom’s skills continued to improve and he got accepted to study and play hockey at Boston College.
In his one season with Boston College, he played in 36 games and had eight goals to go along with 11 assists. Shortly after the college season ended Whalstrom left Boston College to go play five games in the AHL for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. He scored his first two professional goals and picked up his first professional assist in his short stay in Bridgeport. His time didn’t last long playing for Bridgeport as he was a member of Team USA at the World Juniors tournament. Playing in seven games Wahlstrom scored seven goals and added two assists. Team USA won the silver medal that year.
During the 2019-20 season, Wahlstrom played in 45 games for the Sound Tigers. He scored 10 goals and 12 assists. He earned a promotion to the NHL thanks to his production with Bridgeport. His long-anticipated NHL debut did not go as expected. Playing in nine NHL games the New York Islanders rookie was unable to register a single point.
This season Wahlstrom was determined to make an impact on the Islanders roster and so far he has. Playing 26 games Wahlstrom has scored eight goals and also has seven assists. So far coach Barry Trotz has only played him about 11 minutes a game so this amount of production in such little playing time is very impressive. He has continued to score in shootout as he was tasked with taking his first attempt in the shootout in the Islanders game against the New Jersey Devils. He fired a wicked wrist shot past Scott Wedgewood to give the Islanders the victory.
With these impressive scoring skills being displayed at such a young age watch for Wahlstrom to be a top player in the NHL very soon and be the face of the New York Islanders’ push towards the Stanley Cup.
Ilya Sorokin: Young Goalie a Revelation for Islanders
The 25-year-old Ilya Sorokin New York Islanders rookie has been a revelation in the net for the Islanders. The Russian has been amazing for all of his teams in the KHL and international play. After being drafted in 2014 Sorokin has put up jaw-dropping numbers for team Russia and CSKA Moscow of the KHL. during the 2019-20 season Sorokin played in 40 games for CSKA Moscow and compiled a 1.50 goals-against average and a save percentage of .935. He continued his success as a member of Team Russia. Playing in three-game his statistics somehow got more impressive. He earned a 1.49 goals against and a .940 save percentage.
Read about the Sorokin signing here.
After signing with the New York Islanders this offseason Sorokin has played in 11 games for the team. So far he has earned an impressive 1.97 goals-against average and .922 save percentage. These good numbers have helped him win eight of his starts and have also helped the Islanders rise to the top of the league.
Keiffer Bellows: Rookie Playing a Vital Role
The third New York Islanders rookie that has been vital to the Islanders’ success is Bellows. He is another former first-round selection of Islanders that is finally starting to break into the NHL. This season he has played 12 games and has scored three goals. The 22-year-old has been tasked with replacing Anders Lee on the first line since Lee suffered a season-ending lower-body injury.
Read more about the Lee injury here.
So far Bellows has had a promising start and hopefully will be able to replace the void that Lee left. Playing alongside Mat Barzal and Jordan Eberle, Bellows should find no problem putting up goals and points despite playing in Trotz’s defensive system.
Read about Barzal’s new contract here.
Final Thoughts on the New York Islanders Rookie Class
In the early careers of these three New York Islanders rookie players they have found success on the score and in helping the Islanders be a successful team at the top of the league. With these three young players leading the charge New York should be a successful team for a long time.
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