25-Year-Old Center – New York Islanders
Brock Nelson Contract Information:
Signed a three-year, $7.5 million contract with the Islanders in September 2015.
Nelson was not among the players that the Islanders elected to protect in the upcoming expansion draft, Arthur Staple of Newsday reports.
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Brock Nelson: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Last season included another six-goal spike for the third-year center as Nelson tickled the twine 26 times, besting his previous marks of 20 and 14, respectively. Though there isnít much doubt that the 6-foot-3 center can light the lamp with the best of them, he doesnít have the prototypical playmaking abilities weíve come to expect for a guy making his living up the middle, which was somewhat evident in his drop from 22 to 14 assists last season. Playing mostly on a line with Josh Bailey, who is a center-turned-winger with more of a knack for dishing, Nelson often finds the puck on his stick in prime scoring areas. Also, look for Nelson to improve his play on the road and improve his consistency this season, as 18 of his 26 goals came at home in Brooklyn at the Barclays Center.
Nelson played a major role in the Islandersí early-season success, and despite cooling down after the first couple of months, he remained an integral depth piece on the teamís offense. The forward put himself on the fantasy radar with a strong October, and had entered the beginning of January with 14 goals on his ledger. However, Nelson would finish with only six tallies the rest of the way, even though he skated in every contest for the Islanders. Part of the blame for the second-half swoon can be attributed to moving off John Tavaresí line, where No. 91ís linemates are often the beneficiary of the attention he requires. Despite being a natural centerman, Nelson could get another chance to play alongside Tavares and Kyle Okposo on the teamís top line during the upcoming season, which would be a huge boon to the 23-year-old's fantasy value and make him a candidate to once again reach the 20-goal plateau.
Nelson finished his first NHL season with 14 goals and 26 points in 70 games while seeing most of his action on the third or fourth line. Could he handle a bigger load? Probably, but the Isles are loaded with young centers, and the presence of John Tavares and Mikhail Grabovski on the top two lines hinders his chances of a promotion. If the Islanders end up transitioning him to a spot on the wing alongside either Tavares or Grabovski, however, Nelson could end up netting some nice value relative to his draft position. He certainly has talent and is a useful player for the Islanders, but his fantasy prospects will likely hinge on him making a successful move to the outside.
Nelson made his debut with the Islanders during their playoff loss to the Penguins. He will compete for a bottom-six forward position in training camp but will probably begin the season with Bridgeport of the AHL as the Islanders don't have many openings on their NHL roster.
Nelson will begin his pro career this year, more than likely at the AHL level after signing an entry-level deal with the Isles upon completing his sophomore season at the University of North Dakota. He is a power forward who posted 28 goals and 47 points in 42 games for the Fighting Sioux last year, but still needs quite a bit of seasoning before he is ready to play in the NHL.
In Nelson's first season at the University of North Dakota, he had eight goals and 13 assists in 42 games, not exactly the big time numbers you want to see out of a power forward. He will play at least one more season in college before signing his pro contract.
The Islanders traded up to grab Nelson with the 30th pick in the 2010 draft. Nelson projects as a power forward in the NHL who skates well and has a hard shot, but he still is only 18 years of age and may very well be a couple of seasons away from making his NHL debut.