2018 NHL draft prospect profile: #5 Oliver Wahlstrom

BUFFALO, NY - SEPTEMBER 21: Oliver Wahlstrom #9 of Team Chelios during the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game against Team Leetch at the KeyBank Center on September 21, 2017 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Kevin Hoffman/Getty Images)
BUFFALO, NY - SEPTEMBER 21: Oliver Wahlstrom #9 of Team Chelios during the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game against Team Leetch at the KeyBank Center on September 21, 2017 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Kevin Hoffman/Getty Images) /

With the NHL entry draft fast approaching, we at the The Canuck Way will leave no stone unturned when it comes to looking at each and every prospect that the Canucks might consider for their selection. Today we look at Oliver Wahlstrom, an American sniper with a Swedish name.

Remember the goosebumps you got when Brock Boeser sniped a puck clean into the net? You could feel them all over, especially when he made guys like Carey Price and Henrik Lundqvist look like Swiss cheese in the net. How would you like to get those goosies more often?

If your answer is no, you should consult your doctor.

If you answer is yes, then go to your local Canucks representative (even if he or she doesn’t work in hockey operations, just give it a shot) and beg them to convince Linden and staff to draft Oliver Wahlstrom.

There are a few prospects in this draft who are the real deal, and he is one of them.

He has everything that you are looking for in a top line forward like above average skating, size, and hands for days.  However, there is one quality above all else that puts Wahlstrom in an entirely different stratosphere.

His unreal wrist shot.

He shoots the puck like Boeser. Maybe even better than Boeser. If you thought having one sniper like Brock Boeser on the team was fun, try having two! It would be pure ecstasy.

Oliver Wahlstrom is going to be an impact player in this league, and whichever teams pass up on him (save for the Buffalo Sabres and Carolina Hurricanes) better be damn sure the player they get is going to be better. Someday we’ll all shaking our heads in disbelief about the team that took Brady Tkachuk over Oliver Wahlstrom. I’m just hoping that team is not the Canucks.

The stats rundown

*Counting statistics provided by EliteProspects

Height: 186 cm/6’1″

Weight: 94 kg/207 lbs

Birthdate: June 13, 2000

Position: C/RW

Handedness: Right

Team (league): U.S. National U18 Team (USHL)







#5 by Cam Robinson (Dobber Prospects)

#10 by Craig Button


When a first time draft eligible players scores over 40 goals you have to pay attention. Sometimes these goals may be deceiving as they may have come about from a variety of different factors. An example of such a factor would be getting too many “garbage goals”.

This was a concern for many NHL front offices when they were evaluating Detroit prospect Michael Rasmussen for last year’s draft.

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However, it is not concern with Oliver Wahlstrom, as he scored most of goals using that lethal shot of his. In particular, he loves taking shots from the “Ovechkin spot”, a place where he has generated a good amount of his points.

Another concern about Wahlstrom’s production is that it might have been heavily inflated playing beside the likes of Jack Hughes, a phenom in the mold of Connor McDavid who is most definitely going to be the first overall pick in the 2019 draft.

While there is some merit to this, this should not keep scouts tossing and turning at night. In fact, it should boost Wahlstrom’s stock as it takes talent to play with talent.

You can’t just stick any bozo with a talented player and think they can produce. The Oilers tried that when they put Milan Lucic on a line with Connor McDavid, and that was a disaster.

Wahlstrom’s talent is scoring goals, and the way he scored this year can be translated to future NHL success.

Scouting reports

Curtis Joe, Elite Prospects

"A sensational scoring threat, Oliver Wahlstrom is a fierce competitor that preys on weak play. He exploits gaps in the neutral zone; his positioning allows him to carry the puck forward immediately or shift up and into stride off of an outlet pass. He promptly takes easy lanes away from the opposition along his own blue line, but could stand to be more proactive defensively. Offensively, he might be described as uncontainable: the confidence he has in his individual puck skill, paired with a high level of thinking, makes him a difficult cog to take out of alignment. He is able to create opportunities for himself, as well as teammates, out of nothing; this, in turn, translates to energy on the ice and in the building as a whole. All-in-all, Oliver Wahlstrom is an instinct-driven hockey player gifted with the size, skating, skill, and smarts that coaches yearn for."

Mike G. Morreale, NHL.com

"He has elite scoring ability and a quick release on his shot. Wahlstrom can hit a one-timer as good or better than many professional players."

Cam Robinson, Dobber Prospects

"Owns the best release in the class. The goal-scoring forward doesn’t shy away from attacking dangerous scoring areas and boasts strong speed and quick feet. A volume-shooter who is deadly from the left circle on the power-play. Feasts on penalty killers. Terrific pure puck skills. Off to Boston College in the fall. This kid is going to score a boatload of goals in the NHL."

What we think

If he is available at 7, the Canucks should take him no questions asked. As a right wing, he does not fill a positional need in the organization, but will most likely be the best player available on the draft board when it comes time to make a pick. As the team has said many times before, the strategy is to take the best player available.

Elias Petterson and Oliver Wahlstrom could be a deadly combination. It would make a lot of sense to put them on the same line. One is an elite playmaking centre while the other is an elite goal scorer. They could be the most high octane, skilled duo the Canucks have ever had (with all due respect to the Sedins).

Just imagine having one line with Wahlstrom and Pettersson, and then another with Horvat and Boeser. All four of those guys are capable of putting up 30+ goal seasons, while Boeser and Wahlstrom can both put up 40+ goals. They would cause match up problems for many teams.

Wahlstrom would allow the Canucks to deploy Jake Virtanen as a third line forward, which would be a great slot for him. With less pressure to go out and score goals, Virtanen could really flourish and be a key contributor in similar style to Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson.

Sure the Canucks need is on defence, but there are plenty of defenceman to be had in this draft. There will be some good defenceman available in the second round. By taking the best player available, you can build depth in one position and trade some of it to build up a weaker position on the roster.

Next: Vancouver Canucks: Who the experts think they'll draft

We firmly believe that Wahlstrom has the potential to become the next Boeser or even better. It worked out so well for the Canucks the last time they drafted an American sniper, why not do it again?