As Islanders nation continues what seems like the excruciatingly slow count-down towards hockey season, fans are getting a better idea of what their starting lines are going to look like.
Most of the team can be pieced together at this point as the Islanders get ready for a full squad preseason game against the Devils on Thursday, however there is one center who is not only ready to make the team, but he’s ready to make a statement; and that’s Brock Nelson.
Talk about trial by fire, Nelson made his NHL debut for the Islanders not only in the postseason, but in an elimination game 6 against the Penguins.
Drafted 30th overall in the 2010 draft, Nelson has made plenty of good impressions down in Bridgeport. He led the Sound Tigers with 52 points on 25 goals and 27 assists in 66 games prior to his May call-up.
He logged 12 shifts with a -1 rating, skated well and even saw time on the second power play unit. Not too shabby for one’s first game against a powerhouse Penguins side.
It’s difficult to develop an entire professional scouting report on 7:44 of ice time, but there is plenty of maturity in the Minnesota native.
Nelson can bring size to a squad that has lacked some over the past few years. Listed at 6’3”, 196 pounds he is capable of adding a physical presence on a third-line that is likely to already have new addition Cal Clutterbuck. A good set of hands and a powerful skating style will also become an asset to the team who will look to have scoring options riddled throughout all four of its lines.
He’ll also have the opportunity to work with a pair of well-established professionals. Along with Clutterbuck, Nelson could be playing beside Michael Grabner at right wing. With his speed and play-making ability, chances will be bountiful for Nelson to make a good impression this season.