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New York Islanders

Understanding Oliver Wahlstrom’s Current Contract Situation




After securing nearly all their free agents, Oliver Wahlstrom remains the one loose thread for the New York Islanders this offseason.

The 23-year-old forward is a restricted free agent (RFA) this summer and has until 5 p.m. this afternoon to accept the qualifying offer the Islanders gave him on June 30.

If Wahlstrom accepts the offer, he will be under contract for one season, earning $874,125. However, even if Wahlstrom chooses not to accept the offer, that doesn’t mean he won’t play for the Islanders next season.

Teams place qualifying offers on players in order to maintain their status as an RFA. After being given a qualifying offer, RFAs can receive offers from other teams, but their current team can choose to match the offer and bring them back. If an RFA does leave for a new team, his former team will receive a draft pick as compensation.

Although, it isn’t likely that Wahlstrom will be receiving many offers from other teams, considering that he only played in 35 games last year before suffering a season-ending lower-body injury in December. According to both Wahlstrom himself and Islanders president of hockey operations Lou Lamoriello, the forward will be ready in time for training in September.

Ideally, the Islanders would love for Wahlstrom to accept the qualifying offer they gave him, as it will keep them from surpassing the salary cap. However, it’s more likely that Wahlstrom declines the offer and opts to sign some sort of a bridge-type, prove-it deal similar to the one Noah Dobson signed last season as an RFA.

The Islanders and Wahlstrom can continue to negotiate a new contract after today’s deadline has passed and can continue to do so until Dec. 1. However, if for some reason Wahlstrom isn’t under contract with the Islanders or anyone else by then, he will have to sit out for the entirety of the 2023-24 season.

The Islanders selected Wahlstrom with the 11th overall pick during the 2018 NHL Draft. In 161 career games, he’s scored 61 points with 32 goals.