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Oliver Wahlstrom Picked 11th by Islanders; Touted as NHL Draft's Best Scorer

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJune 23, 2018

CRANBERRY TOWNSHIP, PA - SEPTEMBER 30: Oliver Wahlstrom #18 skates in the third period during the game against the Omaha Lancers on Day 3 of the USHL Fall Classic at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex on September 30, 2017 in Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
Justin Berl/Getty Images

American forward Oliver Wahlstrom was taken with the No. 11 overall pick in the 2018 NHL draft by the New York Islanders in Dallas on Friday night.

New York Islanders @NYIslanders

With the 11th pick of the 2018 #NHLDraft the #Isles select Oliver Wahlstrom. https://t.co/usEvqmLlWo

Social media was abuzz once the U.S. National Development Team product came off the board:

Andrew Gross @AGrossNewsday

#Isles up next at Nos. 11 and 12. Oliver Wahlstrom sitting there. So is D Noah Dobson. This has broken well for Islanders.

Ryan Field @RyanFieldABC

The #Islanders select right winger Oliver Wahlstrom with the 11th pick in #NHLDraft Called by some as “the best goal scorer in the draft.”

EliteProspects UK @EPUKhockey

NY Islanders have two in a row now. First is RW Oliver Wahlstrom at 11, pure sniper. Great stickwork and a heavy shot.

Jamie Thomas @JamieThomasTV

John Tavares meet Oliver Wahlstrom...

Wahlstrom looked like a man among boys at times in the USHL during the 2017-18 season, as the 6'1", 205-pound winger registered 22 goals and 23 assists for 45 points in 26 games.

With 1.73 points per game, Wahlstrom was second to only fellow U.S. National Development Team member Jack Hughes.

He also dominated at the U18 World Championships this year for Team USA with two goals and seven assists in seven games en route to the United States winning a silver medal.

Much of the hype entering the 2018 NHL draft focused on defenseman Rasmus Dahlin and a trio of forwards in Andrei Svechnikov, Filip Zadina and Brady Tkachuk.

Due to his size and physicality around the net, however, Wahlstrom could turn out to be the standout forward from this draft when looking back several years from now.

Wahlstrom already has an NHL body, but since he is committed to playing collegiately at Harvard next season, he may not play in the NHL until 2019-20 at the earliest.

That could change if Wahlstrom is impressive leading up to the 2018-19 campaign, though, and earns an NHL roster spot on merit.

According to Sean Leahy of NBC Pro Hockey Talk, Wahlstrom said last year that he models his game after Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Patrik Laine of the Winnipeg Jets.

Both Malkin and Laine are big, offensively gifted forwards with great shots, and those are skills Wahlstrom possesses.

If Wahlstrom comes anywhere close to being the type of player Malkin and Laine have been in the NHL, he is in line to develop into a superstar for the Islanders.