Brock Nelson
Brock Nelson
28-Year-Old CenterC
New York Islanders
2019 Fantasy Outlook
Centering the Islanders' second line, Nelson recorded 25 goals and posted a career-best in points (53), assists (28) and plus-minus (plus-20) in 2018-19. With 25 goals, he was also only one shy of his high-water mark in that category. The last time Nelson reached the 25-goal mark, he needed a career-high 15.8 shooting percentage to do it, but he accomplished that feat last season with a shooting percentage a full 2.0 percent lower than that. Actually, Nelson posted a 13.8 shooting percentage for a second straight campaign last year, but he potted six more goals thanks to an increase of 43 shots on net. Additionally, Nelson played almost 18 minutes per game last season, which was also the most of his career. Those analytics combined with the return of his linemates, Anders Lee and Jordan Eberle, give Nelson a chance at repeating his career season in 2019-20. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a six-year, $36 million contract extension with the Islanders in May of 2019.
Goal-scoring slump
CNew York Islanders
November 7, 2019
Nelson has failed to light the lamp in his last six games for the Islanders.
Nelson does have three assists during this span but has only managed two shots in his last three games. That's not good enough for a player who signed a six-year, $36 million contract during the summer. Injuries to several members of the forward depth for the Islanders may be impacting the play of Nelson, but he will need to find a way to put the puck on net and wrinkle the twine no matter who his wings are.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
With 19 goals and 35 points, Nelson just missed recording his fourth straight 20-goal and 40-point season, but there are too many negative signs to assume he'll be a 20/40 player in 2018-19. While the American center did record a higher-than-average shooting percentage (13.8), his shot total (138) dropped considerably. Part of the decline can be attributed to less ice time and fewer minutes with John Tavares, who had been the face of the franchise. Now that Tavares is gone -- he signed a seven-year deal with Toronto -- Nelson will be asked to center the second line. More talented wingers and a positive spike in ice time sit atop his growing list of needs, but if Nelson's shooting percentage drops back to his career norm, then even 19 goals might be a stretch for the 26-year-old. Consider drafting him as a No. 3 fantasy center in standard formats.
Nelson more or less treaded water for fantasy purposes in 2016-17 -- while he did set new career highs with 25 assists and 45 points, he saw his goal total decline by six (to 20) from the previous campaign and again finished with a negative rating (minus-6) while contributing only modestly on the man advantage (six points). There's certainly fantasy value to be found in a guy who's reached 20 goals for three straight seasons, but Nelson needs a breakout in his age-25 campaign to justify ownership in shallower formats and avoid the reputation of a guy who’s plateaued. A first-round pick in 2010, the University of North Dakota product has certainly flashed the potential for more, though he may have a hard time increasing his production unless one of the Isles’ promising young forwards can break out alongside him on the second line.
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 isn’t much doubt that the 6-foot-3 center can light the lamp with the best of them, he doesn’t have the prototypical playmaking abilities we’ve 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 Islanders’ early-season success, and despite cooling down after the first couple of months, he remained an integral depth piece on the team’s 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 Tavares’ line, where No. 91’s 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 team’s 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.
More Fantasy News
Registers two assists Thursday
CNew York Islanders
October 25, 2019
Nelson notched a pair of helpers in Thursday's 4-2 victory over Arizona.
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Pots OT winner
CNew York Islanders
October 19, 2019
Nelson scored the overtime winner and added an assist in Saturday's 3-2 victory over the Blue Jackets.
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One of each on man advantage
CNew York Islanders
October 11, 2019
Nelson scored a power-play goal and added an assist on the man advantage in Friday's 5-2 loss to the Hurricanes.
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Nets game-winning goal
CNew York Islanders
October 6, 2019
Nelson potted a goal on four shots in Sunday's 4-1 win over the Jets.
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Will center second line
CNew York Islanders
September 22, 2019
Nelson will open up the season centering the second line for the Islanders and will likely have Josh Bailey and Anthony Beauvillier as his linemates, Andrew Gross of Newsday reports.
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