New York Islanders forward Oliver Wahlstrom has been known as a pure goal scorer, but during points last season, the physical part of his game shined through. He laid the body 101 times in 73 games and dropped the gloves twice.
Through 23 games in 2022-23, Oliver Wahlstrom has played a more consistent brand of hockey on both sides of the puck, using his 6’2, 204 lb frame to win board battles, lay big hits, and, when need be, drop the gloves.
After dropping the gloves against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday, the turning point for the New York Islanders in a 3-2 win, Wahlstrom dropped the gloves again on Saturday night in the 5-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers.
As we often see between those two Metropolitan Division rivals, the chippiness of the contest reached a breaking point late in the third period as Alexander Romanov laid a big hit on Kevin Hayes along the boards. Flyers forward Nicolas Deslauriers jumped Romanov, and all hell broke loose.
When Oliver Wahlstrom went to defend Romanov, Flyers defenseman Tony DeAngelo dropped his gloves and went after Wahlstrom. But Wahlstrom was quick to get his gloves off and made DeAngelo regret his decision–rather quickly.
— Stefen Rosner (@stefen_rosner) November 27, 2022
It wasn’t much of a fight, as Wahlstrom took it to DeAngelo pretty good.
Following the game, a bloody-knuckled Oliver Wahlstrom spoke to the media.
“I kind of challenged myself to be uncomfortable this summer. I trained MMA with Marty and with Pulock a little bit,” Wahlstrom said. “It’s a good little technique to have. I’m a big guy, and sometimes in my game, I throw a big hit here and there, and you got to expect someone to come after you.
“So it’s, it’s part of the game now, and you know, I just got to use it.”
As for what transpired between DeAngelo and him:
“I wasn’t even expecting it. I just saw Romy went down and everyone kind of skated over to see if he was good, and then I turn around, and his [DeAngelo] gloves are in the air. I got to protect myself.”
Wahlstrom has shown over his short NHL career that he will always stand up for his teammates. Even if it’s not his job, that willingness to drop the gloves has earned him high praise from his teammates.
“I mean, it just goes to show you what he’s what he’s willing to do for the boys,” Cal Clutterbuck said.
“Whether that’s what you’re known for, being a fighter or not, I mean, guys are going to stand up for each other in here,” Parise said. “So I thought it was a great job by Wahlstrom getting in there.”
“He can chuck them,” Beauvillier said. “I feel like he’s pretty jacked, and he’s got that, that fire in him that when wires are crossing, he just sees black…[He] fires the boys up on the bench for sure.