Is Victor Olofsson A Gamble Worth Taking For Islanders?

As the New York Islanders head into the offseason, turnover within their forward group is likely.

While the focus regarding the forwards should be upgrading the top six and finding a player for Bo Horvat and Mathew Barzal, the middle six and bottom six could also use another piece.

Forwards Cal Clutterbuck and Matt Martin are pending free agents, and additional names are candidates to be traded.

Following a First Round exit in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and Patrick Roy entering his first full season as Islanders head coach, it's possible the team could find some new, younger pieces for Roy to play with.

Our The Hockey News colleague, Michael Augello, shared a report that Buffalo Sabres pending unrestricted free agent forward Victor Olofsson will be testing the market after a down year in his sixth season in Western New York.

is victor olofsson a gamble worth taking for islanders?

Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

The natural right winger, who can play both wing positions, spent time in the press box this past season, only scoring seven goals with eight assists for a measly 15 points in 51 games after a career-high 28 goals in 75 games during the 2022-23 season.

After seeing his role diminished and playing time take a hit -- averaging 14:21 minutes per game in 2022-23 to 11:34 minutes per game in 2023-24 -- it's time for the two sides to part ways.

“I didn’t have a fun season,” Olofsson said. “It was a very big disappointment. I didn't get the role I previously had at all and considering how I performed, it was a bit frustrating (H/t Expressen).

On an expiring deal with a cap hit of $4.75 million, there's no reason to think that he will get more than that on the market.

is victor olofsson a gamble worth taking for islanders?

Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

If anything, he's likely going to have to sign a prove-it deal or take a pay cut, especially if he's going to a playoff hopeful whose cap situation isn't one to brag about.

With Olofsson out of the picture in Buffalo, is their loss the Islanders' gain?

As of right now, the Islanders have $7.05 million in available space, per CapFriendly.

For starters, outside of last year, Olofsson has proven to be a consistent 20-goal scorer.

In 20 career games against the Islanders, he's been sharp, with seven goals (four on the power play) and seven assists. Two of his seven career goals against the Islanders have been game-winners.

However, what makes him intriguing is his ability to score on the power play.

Olofsson has 35 goals on the man-advantage in his NHL career, and while far from the most in the league, he can give a spark to the Islanders' second unit.

He consistently gets power play time on the off-wing, providing him with an option for a wrist shot or, potentially, a one-time finish:

The Islander's power play finished the season at 20.4 percent (19th) but only came through 17.6 percent of the time in Roy's 37 games behind the bench.

While the offensive output, despite a down year, is undeniable, there are a few questions to answer.

Mainly, how often does he hit the ice?

Olofsson's play on the defensive side of the puck is well below league average. With that in mind, would Roy be able to improve upon that?

With that noted, it's important to consider who he'll be playing with.

Ideally, he could go alongside either Jean-Gabriel Pageau or Kyle MacLean, two players who are often lauded for their two-way play.

His opposite wingman is in question as well, with Casey Cizikas making the jump away from center this season. However, if New York can fill some holes this summer, he is likely to return to that spot in 2024-25.

Simon Holmstrom, Pierre Engvall and Hudson Fasching are among other candidates to be in that role this year.

Ruslan Iskhakov and Oliver Wahlstrom are the other two candidates as pending restricted free agents, but both have their own question marks regarding their Islander's futures.

Rumors swirled this past season that Iskhakov could be headed to the KHL while Wahlstrom, in his return after suffering a torn ACL, is likely not coming back.

While it's unknown whether any of these names will be part of any trades, buyouts, etc., to make more room for Olofsson, he's a piece that could be a risk worth taking for the Islanders.

The former seventh overall pick is entering his age-29 season, and despite his defensive concerns and offensive struggles, past results suggest he can be effective for scoring depth, especially in sheltered minutes.

Regardless, Olofsson will be available, and he is someone the Islanders should consider as an option heading into the summer.

Olofsson has seven goals and seven assists in 20 games against the Islanders.

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