New York Islanders Brock Nelson is going through a tough patch in December/January. It’s something we’ve seen him go through before. Looking at the stats it seems he’s destined to go through it year over year.
The New York Islanders third line seems to live and breath based on Brock Nelson’s play. When he isn’t on the mark the line is virtually non-existent. But when he’s firing on all cylinders they add an incredible production boon for an already elite offensive lineup.
The only issue for Brock Nelson and the Islanders third line is that he isn’t always firing on all cylinders. In fact, more often than not he isn’t.
But yet he still manages to notch twenty goals and 40-45 points every year. How? How can a player that ghosts in and out of games so frequently put up that type of production?
We know that Brock Nelson follows the cycle of the sun. He starts out well in Octob , but hits rock bottom by December, only to trend back up come January. So as the darker days of winter start to take over, Brock Nelson’s production goes down.
Here’s some data that highlights my point. The orange line represents his goals per game broken down on a monthly basis since 2013-14. Notice the almost perfect ‘W’ shape. By December Brock hits his low. He gets a deceptive bump in January before picking things up again in March.
We know this is what Brock Nelson does. We don’t like it, but we’ve come to expect it from the New York Islanders late first rounder in 2010. But what we don’t notice is how he’s seemingly trying to rectify the situation, and it doesn’t work.
The blue line in the attached graph is Brock’s shooting percentage throughout the year. Notice the aforementioned dip in December. In order to generate goals, a player has to get the puck on net. And you can see by the blue line, that’s exactly what Nelson is trying to do.
The blue line represents the number of shots per game per month for Brock Nelson. You can see that Nelson is getting more pucks on net in December, but they just aren’t going in. Just look at the shot differential from November to December in the last four seasons.
It’s like Nelson knows whats going to happen and is trying to actively prevent it from occurring but is powerless to stop it. And then, in February (and for the rest of the season) Brock Nelson’s output matches his input.
As his shot totals go down in February so do his goals, but as his shots increase in March and April the goals to start to rise. And there lies the enigma.
This obviously doesn’t go into any detail about what Nelson is doing with those shots. Are they from far out? Do they come from within the baseball base shaped “sweet spot” around the net?
Brock Nelson seems to do the basic thing a player needs to do in order to get out of a slump (or prevent one from occurring). He’s getting pucks on net. But for some reason, it just isn’t working for him.