A developing story came out on Thursday morning that Oliver Wahlstrom wasn’t happy with his situation at Boston College. The freshman right-winger has two goals in nine NCAA games while playing secondary offensive minutes. Not exactly the early production that Islanders’ fans and fantasy owners would hope for, but not uncommon for first-year college players.
What’s even more interesting is that the 11th overall pick from last June isn’t interested in heading to the QMJHL as Cape Breton owns his CHL rights. That stemmed the move for Tri-City of the USHL to grab his rights.
While it’s been reported that Wahlstrom’s camp has had no contact with Tri-City, this is an easy move for the club to make. They take a chance on landing a top two player for that league. Go big, right?
A low-key option would see Wahlstrom sign a pro contract and head to the AHL. Another option may be an inter-CHL trade (which are extremely rare) or if a team like Halifax trades for his rights and dangles a Memorial Cup appearance to convince him to come to Quebec. He’s too good for the USHL, and he proved that by being dominating that level of competition (and higher) last season with The Program.
Europe could be an option if all parties involved agreed. Wahlstrom does have Swedish citizenship through his dad.
There’s some evidence that Wahlstrom may have a bit of difficulty committing to things. Here’s a timeline of his activities since committing to the University of Maine as a 13-year-old (the same school his dad attended before playing professionally in Sweden:
- Decommitted from Maine (July 2015)
- Committed to Harvard (August 2015)
- Decommitted from Harvard (February 2018)
- Committed to Boston College (May 2018)
Wherever he ends up, this will be an interesting situation to watch. Islanders’ fans are hoping he gets all these moves out of his system before landing on the Rock.
Speaking of the USHL, I’ve formally put my support behind leading scorer, Bobby Brink for this upcoming draft. The 5’10 forward is a hell of a player and loads of fun to watch. He’s a young player for this crop but owns exciting offensive skills and a competitive nature that’s contagious. Brink sat 34th on my most recent rankings.
Reports out of the OHL say that Windsor has multiple packages on the table of Canucks’ goaltending prospect, Michael DiPietro – one of which involves EIGHT second round picks plus some other things. That’s insane value.
It’s been considered a slam-dunk that DiPietro wouldn’t last the season with the Spitfires and the most likely scenario sees him go off and be the starter for Team Canada at the World Juniors and return to a new squad to begin the new year.
DiPietro is the reigning OHL Goaltender of the Year and is off to another terrific start. The 19-year-old has posted a 0.924 save percentage in 16 games for the middling squad. He’s a dynamic junior player.
Some goalie experts consider him a better prospect than Thatcher Demko. I’m not sure I’m on board with that, but I think they’re at least close. The difference for the fantasy landscape is that Demko is 2-3 years ahead of DiPietro in the developmental arc.
A great deal can happen during that time. But, I do think DiPietro should start getting some love in deep keepers and dynasty leagues. He may just be 6’ tall, but he’s an athlete with a high compete level and strong positioning. He’s one of a very select group of smaller goaltenders that I’d bet on making it.
Troy Terry doesn’t appear to want to stick around the AHL very long. The 21-year-old Ducks’ prospect has been tearing the American league to pieces. He leads all U22 players with 1.5 points-per-game and his 15 points in 10 contests places him second overall for rookie forwards.
Anaheim will be calling soon.
Matthew Struthers is making a strong case to be selected as a draft-plus one player next June. The 6’2 pivot has put up 12 goals and 27 points in 18 games for North Bay this season.
To be honest, I was very surprised that a team didn’t take a flier on him last season. He finished as the 87th ranked player on my final board. I kept waiting to hear his name in Dallas, but it just didn’t come. If he keeps up this pace, he’ll hear it in Vancouver.
If you missed this from a couple weeks back, here is my updated 2019 Rankings
Some notes from the WHL:
- Brett Leason continues to torch the competition. He’s currently riding a season-long 22-game point streak to the tune of 22 goals and 47 points. He popped a hat trick his last game out.
The 19-year-old was passed over in both the 2017 and 2018 drafts but is looking like a great bet to be selected this June.
- Kirby Dach is beginning to separate himself from the other Western League first-time draft-eligible prospects. The towering pivot has 13 goals and 39 points in 24 contests – good for fifth most in the league and far and away the leader for 17-year-olds.
The Saskatoon Blades’ top player is also a sneaky darkhorse to make the Canadian World Junior squad. He’s proven capable of playing the wing effectively at the Hlinka and that’s likely where he’d draw in if he made the squad.
Dach sat fourth on my board during the last update. There’s a good chance he’ll be even higher next time around.
- Ty Smith and Cody Glass remain the cream of the league. Both are clicking along at exceptional paces. You should have these guys locked and loaded in deep leagues.
Thanks for reading and feel free to follow me on Twitter @Hockey_Robinson