New York Rangers: Oliver Wahlstrom prospect profile

PLYMOUTH, MI - FEBRUARY 16: Oliver Wahlstrom
PLYMOUTH, MI - FEBRUARY 16: Oliver Wahlstrom /

The New York Rangers currently hold the ninth overall pick in the 2018 NHL Draft. While they won’t be snagging a franchise changer such as Rasmus Dahlin or Andrei Svechnikov, there should be plenty of talented players available when the Blueshirts make their pick. One such player who has an outside chance at being available is Oliver Wahlstrom.

Oliver Wahlstrom is a supremely talented player out of the U.S. National Development Program. He is projected to be a rather high pick in this year’s draft, so it is doubtful that he’ll still be there when the New York Rangers pick. However, there is always the chance that he falls.

Of all the forwards in the top draft rankings, Wahlstrom is the most likely to fall to the Rangers at nine. If he does, the Rangers would be absolute fools to not pick him. They’d be getting an incredible offensive force, a player capable of scoring some highlight-reel goals.

Wahlstrom had an outstanding year with the USNTDP, putting up 40 goals and 42 assists in 53 games. Some of this can be attributed to playing alongside next year’s likely number one overall pick, Jack Hughes. Still, the pure offensive skill is clearly there. Let’s take a deeper look at Wahlstrom and his game.


The Quincy, Massachusetts native isn’t exactly a speed demon, but he’s no slouch of a skater either. He has a good first step, and his acceleration is pretty quick. Wahlstrom is very agile, and can change direction on a dime. Once he gets going, he’s hard to stop.

His edge-work is very good, which allows him to elude defenders with ease. His lower body strength is also very impressive, which allows him to win battles along the boards.


While Wahlstrom is a very well-rounded player, offense is his bread and butter. He’s an incredible stick-handler, as evidenced by his highlight-reel shootout goal at TD Garden when he was only nine years old.

He has an incredible amount of moves and dangles in his arsenal. But he’s not just a goal scorer. Wahlstrom is also a very talented playmaker. His vision is unreal, and he can often extend a play to wait for a teammate to get open. When, and if, they do, Wahlstrom can thread the needle with some incredible passes.

His wrist shot is also a thing of beauty as it is deadly accurate. He is an absolute sniper, plain and simple. Another underrated aspect of his game is that he generates a ton of shots and high-danger scoring chances. His release is incredibly quick, often leaving goaltenders in confusion when he wires a shot into the back of the net. He’s also not afraid to go to the net and bang in some rebounds or tip-ins.


While Wahlstrom isn’t exactly a pylon in his own end, his defensive game could use some work. He sometimes seems to coast a bit, often waiting to pounce on a turnover and take it the other way. He needs to be a bit more aware in the defensive zone, and needs to work on his back-checking.


While Wahlstrom can play both center and wing, with the NTDP he was Jack Hughes’ right winger on the first line, and his future is most likely as a winger. But, in a pinch he could be moved to center. Wahlstrom stands out as the perfect top-six, sniping right winger.

Next: How the IIHF Worlds will impact the Rangers’ game

If the New York Rangers are lucky enough to have Oliver Wahlstrom fall to nine, they should waste no time in picking him. The team hasn’t had a pure sniper since the days of Marian Gaborik, and they sorely need a player like Wahlstrom. Picking him would give them another franchise building-block, and, in a few years, could be a key piece in getting the team back to contention.